Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Day of School

I can't believe it's another new school year again. Didn't we just have one of those? This first day just snuck up on me! We were prepared with some new school clothes and school supplies and all, but I guess our minds just weren't wrapped around the fact that summer is over and school is ON. Okay, perhaps especially mine because as much as I'm trying not to think too much, that bike ride is sitting front and center on my mind these days.

Here is this year's photo of the girls from this morning:
First Day of School
Sept. 6, 2012
Here are the first day of school photos of the girls from just four years ago:

Big difference, huh? Especially with youngest. My babies are getting so grown up!

My oldest [on left] is now a senior in high school. I cannot believe it. She has a pretty full course load again this year and is also already playing Varsity Volleyball. They've been practicing daily since we came home from vacation and they've even had games before school has even started! She's still doing a lot of photography--recreationally and getting paid for some, too! Portraits, Sweet 16 parties, an upcoming Bar Mitzvah, and so on. She'll be photographing for the school during the year, too.

Youngest [on right] is now an 8th grader, at the top of the middle school food chain. ;) She's taking dance again this year--ballet, jazz and contemporary and she's continuing with girl scouts, as well. She's a Cadette girl scout again this year and the girls will be working on and finishing their Silver Award by spring of next year.

I sometimes like to make some New School Year's Resolutions this time of year. Not necessarily for me personally, but resolutions that will help whip me back into shape as domestic goddess supreme. Bah ha ha. That was a joke. Seriously, though, sometimes I need to little kick in the behind to run a smoother household and these are a few of my ideas:

1. Menu plan dinners Sun-Thurs.
I already do this often, and when I do, it's SO helpful. I need to be more consistent about it. Friday and Saturday are wildcard days for take out and or if someone wants to take me out for a nice dinner. :) Or I'll cook, but it'll be on the fly.

2. Do the dishes | Clean the kitchen every night.
In other words, don't leave it piled in the sink for the morning. I may be tired at 8:30 pm and just want to relax and hang around with my husband, but having to deal with a messy kitchen at 6:45 am when everyone's foraging for breakfast and I'm packing lunches is so much WORSE. Seriously, this should be a no-brainer.

3. Enforce Sunday chores with the girls.
This is all my fault. I can't really blame them for not helping more around the house when I don't ask them to, but they really need to pick up a few more chores. Eldest scoops the cat's litter boxes at night and takes out the garbage. Youngest makes a pathetic attempt at setting the table for dinner and then feeds the cats in the evening. Granted my oldest also helps me out by "babysitting" her grandfather if she's home and I need to go out and do an errand, which is a HUGE help. My youngest has done this for me a couple of times last month, too. I'm glad she's finally mature enough for that responsibility. But still, I'd like them to take on a bit more responsibility with other chores. Mostly, I'd like them to pick up after themselves in our living spaces--family room, dining room, etc. Everyone tends to leave their stuff around and not in their storage places. I'd also like them to clean their bathroom! Sometimes I don't go in there for several days and then when I do, I'm so shocked at what two girls can do to a bathroom! Or should I say, not do. I'm declaring Sunday as Clean-Your-Bathroom Day since it's usually the one day of the week I can be assured they're both home for the most hours of the day. It's usually homework day, too. It's going to be their FAVORITE day of the week! I just know it! :)

If you have school-age children, how is school going for yours? 
I think we are among the very last schools in the nation going back to school!

Do you menu plan for the week in advance? 

What chores did you have to do as a teenager?


  1. I can't believe how they've grown, Christine! They're beautiful too!

  2. Your daughters are so cute - which they probably don't wanna hear now that they are so grown up.

    Also, I'm totally with you on the doing dishes at night. If I know my mum is leaving them for me to clean, I rather wash them before going to bed, otherwise is annoying in the morning if I wanna bake or something.

  3. Wow! They have grown so much!

    Devin started school on August 1st. I am still trying to adjust to the earlier start, but he does get out the end of May instead of the end of June. He's had to switch middle schools three times. He started in New York and then moving down here, the town house we rented was in the wrong county for where we knew we would by a house, so he had to switch again for 8th grade.

    It kinda sucks, the schools in this county have a dress code. He has to wear polo shirts....either dark blue, gray, black, white, maroon, or gold. And his shorts have to be of a certain color with no side pockets! Do you know how hard that was trying to find shorts with no side pockets?? And I only had less than a week to find some because I was so not expecting school to start the first of August and I waited too long to get him registered at the new school. I was thinking more like the middle of the month. On top of the dress code, he also has to wear a belt and his shirt tucked in! I was not very happy about the strict code, but it's been over a month now and we are used to it. It was touch at first though.

  4. Yes on the menu planning! Have been for years makes life much easier : )

    Chores done when I was a child? That's the reason my kids do almost othing now. I did SO much and hated it so I vowed my kids wouldn't have to and guess what, they don't. I cleaned all the rooms, mopped vacuumed, laundry, pressed my dad's work shirts (NYC bus driver) our tenant told me my mom has no idea how lucky she was with me and my brother and what we'd do. My kids, they can pass a tissue on the floor and they won't bend to pick it up. Their bathroom always looks like 10 men have gone through it and their bedroom is no better. I really have to ride them. The one that just got married, you couldn't even see her floor!

    They are good kids otherwise I would have disposed of em years ago ; ) they set clear and wash the dishes each night, do their laundry (older ones) though I find myself folding them a lot! All in all if they're told they do.

    Your daughters are beautiful and time is going faster, how do we make it stop?


  5. Tracy, I know! Time flies. Did you post back to school pictures of your girls this year? I looked but couldn't find any.

    Alex, Aw, thanks. I don't think they mind being called cute. :)
    I already failed the first night ... I left the dishes for this morning. UGH!

    Amy C, I was thinking Devin had to start earlier this year now that you've moved south. That'll take some getting used to, I suppose. I'm torn about the whole dress code thing. Part of me likes that a dress code takes out all the crazy social drama that goes with outfits and trends and such with girls, especially. But the other part of me knows how important it is for teens to express themselves through their clothing. But no side pockets in pants? What? That's crazy. I guess they don't want kids carrying around their cell phones? That's the only thing I can think of.

    Hope he has a great school year! :)

    Paula, Wow sounds like you worked your butt off as a teen. Did more than I do now. LOL! I didn't have to do many chores at all as a kid either. I helped when asked.. usually for yard work like raking leaves in the fall and walking the dogs. I made my bed. Honestly the first time I used a washing machine was in college. Embarrassing. I guess MY philosophy is somewhere in the middle.. I want the girls to pitch in a little every day and KNOW how to do all kinds of household chores, but I also want them to ENJOY their childhood. Because we all know that once we're grown up .. there's no turning back and THERE'S ALWAYS CHORES TO BE DONE. Always.

    Glad to hear your kids' bathrooms are a mess, too. I don't feel so bad.

    Hope your kids have a great school year, too! xo

  6. Your girls are gorgeous! And so bright and talented! We haven't started yet, we're starting late this year, which is my prerogative since we homeschool.
    My kids don't do too many chores. Daughter scoops the cat litter at night and Son feeds the cats and they both do little things when I ask like taking the trash out. But, I do have to keep on them about their rooms and Son refuses to share a bathroom with Daughter- that should give you a clue on how messy she is...
    When I was a teen I had MANY chores. I helped with laundry, cleaning, a bit of the cooking and ironing.
    OOh, I plan our menu's out two weeks at a time. It's such a big help when grocery shopping and takes the stress out of what to fix for dinner some nights, especially with our schedule. We just look at the menu and choose a dinner to cook.

    Thinking good thoughts for you this weekend!

  7. Your daughters are really gorgeous! And wow, the youngest had a growth spurt it seems! LOL.

    That is awesome that the oldest is getting some paying gigs as a photographer :)

    And good luck enforcing the Sunday Clean-Up day LOL.

  8. Both your girls have grown into beautiful women, like their mother ;)

  9. Great then & now pictures!

    If you're kids were the last to go back I think mine were the first. Mine went back August 6 and they are so ready for a break. LOL

    I rarely menu plan. Maybe if I did everyone would eat at the same time. :)

    My teen does her own laundry, cleans her bathroom and generally helps around the house. The boys sometimes help with laundry and do keep their rooms cleaned up. I need to get all three in the kitchen more.

  10. Brandy, hi! Thank you for the compliments. :)
    Did you start the kids with school this week? I know you guys went late back in June, so no hurry. I say enjoy the gorgeous weather right now and let them be free. You can make up for any lost time during the fall and winter when the weather gets dreary!

    Sounds like our kids have similar chores. I guess I just want them to clean up after themselves a little more when it comes to dumping their stuff on the floor when the walk in the door and their bathroom. Is it too much to ask? If everyone just put their sh-- ... STUFF where it belongs, I can then spend more time cleaning and less time putting stuff away.

    Wow. Planning meals two weeks at a time is ambitious! Sounds like it works well for you. I start out planning meals around the produce we get in our co-op box, using items that spoil faster first. And also around which evenings are busiest with activities so those nights have simple meals and or re-invented left overs. It's a big job feeding everyone every night, isn't it?

    Hope you had a great week! xo

    nath, Aw, thanks. Yes, Anna has gotten quite tall in the last two years! She might end up taller than Maria in another year or two. I think Maria is finished growing. She's been the same shoe size for a couple of years now.

    Maria is photographing another wedding this weekend with a photographer. She's like the assistant/secondary photographer. So cool!

    I'll need lots of luck with Sunday Clean-Up day. I didn't enforce last Sunday because I wasn't home from 5 am-5:30 pm because of my big ride and then when I came home I was too tired to do anything! I was in bed by 8:50 pm and asleep by 9:10 pm. haha!

    Kate, aww, shucks. Thank you. :)

    Leslie, omgosh August 6. Isn't it still REALLY hot? Do your schools have air conditioning? Ours don't here.

    I'm very impressed by how much your daughter does. I have showed my girls how to use the washer and dryer but they never pitch in. Not even when they need something cleaned urgently. It's annoying.

  11. Goodness, the girls are so beautiful!

    Our boys (now boy *sniffle*) have always had to do chores. They both have to help set, clear & do dishes (they take turns). The setting & clearing has been since they were big enough to carry plates - in fact, we did away with our stoneware and bought Corelle just so they could carry their own dishes. The doing dishes part came when they were about 11 or 12.

    Then they each have to clean up their room once a week, and help pick up the house when asked. Also, Jeff has to take out the household trash and take the cans to the curb & bring them in. Steve has to scoop the dog poop.

    As for laundry, we tried all summer to get Jeff to do his laundry. He's in for a shock next week when he has to do it on his own at school. I fully expect a phone call at work asking for help. Steve is pretty good - if he needs something and it's dirty (usually his volleyball uniform), he'll wash it himself.

    Steve started school Aug 22, and Jeff starts on Monday (Sept 24).


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