A primer for FIRST graders (according to Em)

First graders are never scared.
My discussion with Em while tucking her in the night before school started…

E: I’m nervous about going to school tomorrow, Mama.
M: (Thinking this might be from discussions with a friend of hers earlier in the day) Why are you scared? What are you worried about?
E: Mmmm. I don’t know?
M: I thought you were so excited about being a first grader finally? Think of all the great things you are going to learn!
E: Hey, yeah. And first graders aren’t afraid of anything, are they?
M: I don’t think they are afraid of trying something new – and they definitely aren’t afraid of learning!
E: Ok. I’m not scared. And I think that first graders don’t need a nightlight either, Mama.

Alrighty then.


First graders are up before their alarm clocks (and parents).
Well, at least on the first day they are. We’ll see if this continues.


First graders get love notes on their way to school…


…and in their lunchboxes.


Speaking of which, first graders get to take their lunches to school!
It really was the highlight of our morning. Deciding what to take for our very first lunch, and packing it in our new lunchbox.  And no, I did not even *strongly suggest* this lunchbox. But imagine my excitement when she chose this one with the cute little tree and bird applique on it. And it says I *heart* trees.

Sigh. That’s my girl.


First graders still have to wait patiently while Moms take a million photos on the first day.


First graders line up to go into their classroom.
And seem oh, so very grown-up standing in line waiting for class. And they have classroom rules – three of them that she already knows by heart. And every time they do something good, they get a cougar paw and entered into a little lottery at the end of the week. Yeah, she already got her first cougar paw today. She was also office helper and line leader. Quite a first impression that kid makes, I’m sure.


First graders wait with crossed fingers to find out if their best friend is in their class.
It was pure agony around here the past week. They didn’t post the class lists until yesterday. I’m sure the shrieks of pure joy could be heard for miles when we walked over with the girls yesterday to discover that they were in fact in the same class.


First graders get awesome little crafty treat bags from their teachers.
Seriously – how cute are these?


…And then immediately break them open to share with their little sisters when they get home.


First graders are much better printers and spellers than kindergartners.
Although Em was a bit dismayed to learn that this week (Wed-Fri) they are doing a little kindergarten review. “It was a very easy day, Mama. I already know all that stuff.”

I can tell she was definitely trying very hard to print nicely. She doesn’t print that neatly at home for Mommy!


First graders are very relieved that first grade isn’t that much different from kindergarten…


…but are certain that it is going to be a whole lot more fun!
(For Mommy, too. So different than last year!)


It is as if they know…

I am completely at the breaking point. So tired of the constant bickering and fighting over the past week. I’ve been to that point where I would rather endure nails on a chalkboard than hear that “Moooo-oooom!” one more time.

And then I walk in the living room to this…


Although the reprieve from the fighting will be most welcome, we are going to be so lost without Emma Grace around here tomorrow.

My First Baby ~ Best Shot Monday

I realize that Chaos has been kinda “Addie-heavy” around here lately. This became pretty apparent as I was flipping through photos and I had about 20 “keepers” of Ad, but far fewer of Em. And lately our Flickr photos is just one long stream of Addison sprinkled with an Emma or two here and there. So I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out this trend, I mean Emma is here. She is around.

And all I can come up with is…she just doesn’t seem to need me so much. She’s testing out her wings which just doesn’t involve Mommy.

“Can I just read these books on my own?” she’ll ask as I’m turning out her lights.
“Can I go play pbskids on the computer? – No it is okay, I can do it myself, Mama!”
“Nah, I don’t really want to go for a bike ride, I’ll just stay here with Daddy.”
“Can I go play with Audrey. No without you. You can drop me off?”

When I asked her if she wanted to go to the beach tomorrow, she said “Yeah! Who is going with us?”
Because she can’t go to the beach with just her Mom?)

She just seems so old. Mature. Thirteen already!
And as she is off doing all the big, independent six-year old things – without me – I guess I must have just turned the camera and attention to Addie instead.

But while we were walking through a store last night, I felt Em’s soft, little hand reach up for mine. We wandered around, her hand in mine, as she pointed out all kinds of things that she thinks we need at home. I looked down to my favorite sweet spot on the top of her head, and there, under a bunch of blue hair glitter, I found my little girl. Looking up expectantly at me, willing me to just listen to her. In that moment I realized she may be careening towards becoming a big girl, but she will always be my first baby. She will always need me patiently waiting for her, for when she gets tired of flying out on her own.



The tooth has left the building.

I’ve been waiting ever so (*ahem*) patiently.

Emmie - the toothless wonder

So do you notice anything?

Notice anything?

Yep, we finally have our own Junie B. Jones -  toothless wonder in the house.

Tooth fairy booty

Amazingly enough we were listening to that very Junie B. Jones audiobook on our trip to Hana the day that Em’s first tooth decided to vacate her crazy shark-like mouth.

It has been loose for quite a while now, and her adult teeth are coming in behind her two bottom teeth. I had already made a dentist appointment for the girls for the day we got home from vacation, anticipating a possible need to help get those baby teeth out of there.

So with the threat of the dentist (or Nena!) pulling out her tooth, she wiggled, wiggled, wiggled it, and then got a little freaked out when it started to bleed at dinner one night (I may or may not have forgotten to mention to her that when your teeth come out there might be a bit of blood? Yeah, she is definitely my kid!). But it finally fell out in her hand while we were swimming in the pool that evening. Hallelujah and thank God for small favors!

Once the drama was over I think she realized the anticipation was far worse than the actual tooth falling out. She was practically giddy and has shown her “tooth hole” to anyone she come across.

The dentist said that her adult teeth may actually be coming in in the correct spot since she has a bit of an underbite right now. But I foresee definite braces in her future. And he also was not concerned with the other bottom tooth coming out. So we are back to wigglin’.

And yes, the tooth fairy does make hotel calls in Maui. Just in case you wondered.

School’s Out.

And then we had a first grader.

A first grader!

Every time I say that I have a catch in my voice and a lump in my throat. It isn’t just preschool or kindergarten, but an honest-to-goodness numbered grade. It just doesn’t seem possible.

But between bringing home an art portfolio that was bigger than she is and a glowing report card (seriously, she would have a hard time getting better marks or comments – she is such a good kid!), Emma left kindergarten yesterday for the last time. And she just can’t stop beaming or talking about the “most fun day ever!”


I have to admit, their little “graduation” party was pretty darn cool.

Even though we (a neighbor, two friends and myself) thought it a good idea to have a garage sale yesterday and today, I snuck out for a bit and went over to help out with the party, and take photos, of course.

They had little stations set up for the kids; bubbles…


…potato sack races…


…and water tables with water balloon games. By the way, I was filling up water balloons at midnight on Wednesday – and let me tell you, there is a definite art to filling them. I think I have mastered it after about my 50th balloon, and only breaking and getting sprayed by about 15 of them!

I don’t have a lot of action shots, because my station was…face painting. Another mom was doing tattoos and I painted. And painted. And painted – oh, probably close to 100 ladybugs, dinosaurs, puppies, kitties, butterflies, and flowers. There were 40 kids and once we got through all of them, one of them asked for another one on her other cheek, which started a mad rush to the painting table again. By the end of the day I had kids coming up and saying, “um…I still have a spot here!” as they hunted for a spare portion of their arm that didn’t have a tattoo or painting on it. It was really fun!

Except…all my pics of Em, as her last day as a kindergartner? She has this on her forehead.


Nice, eh? This was before she got more painting and tattoos…she was all inked up and the bathwater last night was dis-gusting!

Notice she did wear her dress that I “had to make for the last day of school!” But they all made t-shirts to wear to the party, so she ended up covering up the dress, anyhow. And she asked for me to braid her hair like Aunt Meesh. Although she told me in no uncertain terms, that it was not how Aunt Meesh does it. Everyone is a critic.

Then of course no party is complete without pizza and popsicles!


And goody bags.


And then it was time to say goodbye.


The little boy on the far left is Emma’s friend-who-happens-to-be-a-boy. His mom and I are always laughing about him (he has a twin sister that is in Em’s little group of girlfriends) tagging along with the girls. And apparently B. talks about Em. A Lot. And Em adores him.

So he walked up and said, “Have a nice summer Emma!” And her face just fell. He and his sister are going to a different school next year and I think it kinda sunk in that no more school, also means no more friends every day. And then I reminded her…almost every one of her friends lives within walking distance from our house. We could potentially see them a few times in the next few months. Silly girl.

And she also had another little playmate (who has been out of school for a week already) just patiently waiting for her first-grade sister to come home.


Our Songbird Thespian.

The musical is finally over. After all of the sewing, painting of sets, sewing, rehearsals, sewing, songs continually stuck in our heads, and of course, the fretting that it was never going to “come together,” I can happily proclaim that the musical went off without a hitch. Well, it went off, and it went very well.

Em knew her part and was a superstar. I predict some serious stage time in her future.


Perhaps not singing, but she does seem to enjoy being on stage.


(Can’t say that for all of her castmates.)

And they all lived happily ever after.

Once upon a time there was a fair maiden, who at the ripe old age of two, got her very first bike from her grandma, Queen Debby.


Our Princess E. was really quite interested in the trike…


…but preferred to be pushed around on said tricycle by King Daddy, and didn’t really ever get the “hang of” pedaling the wee bike.


Time went by, another princess, Princess A., was born into the family and the princesses’ aunt, Duchess Meesh, decided that it was time for Princess E. to receive a “big-maiden” bike and pass along the trike to Princess A.


This time it was Queen Mommy who ran along beside Princess E. and tried desperately to help her steer down the right path. But even with the training wheels, Princess E. never really seemed to be too interested in bike riding.


More time went by, (but no more princesses were born into the family!) and Princess A. was given a “big-maiden” bike complete with training wheels by a friend, and Princess E. started to ride her own bike fairly well.

So Queen Mommy removed the training wheels in hopes that her Princess E. would learn to ride sans-training wheels. But, alas, Princess E. just took over Princess A.’s new bike (which still had training wheels on it) instead. Occasionally Princess E. and Queen Mommy would take her training wheel-less bike out for a “run” but it usually ended in the Princess madly exclaiming, “BUT YOU PROMISED YOU WOULDN’T LET GO!” And she would return to the second bike that still had the training wheels.


Then one afternoon King Daddy coaxed the Princess into easing through the courtyard BY HERSELF with NO TRAINING WHEELS. And it was decided that the “big maiden” bike was just simply not big enough. Our princess had grown two very long legs. And knees…that kept hitting the handlebars.


So a new, even bigger “big maiden” bike was purchased. And it just seemed too big for the Princess. So the training wheels went back on this newest bike.

But ‘lo – cousins and friends from villages afar, and schoolmates who live nearby, were all learning how to ride their bikes. And that may have just been the push that our Princess E. needed.

Last week, it finally clicked. First, on the training wheel-less bike. Princess E. finally understood the glorious feeling of the wind in her hair as she biked round and round the park. Only stopping when it was mandated by Queen Mommy “time for bath!”


And yesterday, King Daddy was yet again able to coax Princess E. into trying her new bike without training wheels.


And now…she can officially ride a bike…


And they all lived happily ever after. (Until her first big crash, at least.)


The End

We are on high alert…

Emma has a loose tooth. At last! After recounting numerous “lost” teeth stories from her friends, cousins, and schoolmates, and developing a growing angst over being six (!) and still no missing teeth (!) – It looks like she may have a story, and a gap, of her own pretty soon.

So we wait. And wiggle.

A month of six. Already.

Just some photos from a little photo shoot we did this afternoon. The last time I made her sit still for two minutes so I could snap more than one photo was her very last day of being five. And look, she has been six for over one month already!


She looks WAY older than six to me…


And?! Really? Six year olds know how to do the “eye-roll” already? I thought I had at least a few more years on that one.


Yeah. She is all six. And all beautiful.


More on “The Big Six.”

I already told you that I am not very focused this week. And even though I have a week’s worth of photos to post and write about, I just opened this folder from Saturday to edit. So today we will be reliving…Em’s birthday trip to Disneyland. (A million thanks to Uncle Jeff!)

You did hear that she turned six last week, right? I think everyone at DL knew after Saturday, compliments of her birthday button…


…and her birthday ears.


And during the parade, when they asked who was celebrating a birthday – she made sure to make it known…


I think she liked being the birthday girl. What do you think?


We crossed some stuff off of our list, including a chilly ride on Splash Mountain!
And then we hung around ToonTown for a bit…


And tried to contain two little monkeys…


And we borrowed Minnie’s mirror to primp a little bit…


It was a jam-packed and fun-filled day. This is one of my fave pics of Addie…


And my fave of Em, too. I just wonder what she was thinking when I snapped this.


It was a great way to celebrate the big SIX! Thanks again, Uncle Jeff.