Yesterday all my babies went off to school. Like, for reals, they started school.  Yes, the on the seventh of August. I’m still trying to figure out how August doesn’t equal summer anymore.2013-08-07 first day of school 84860(That “1” is for first grade BTW.)2013-08-07 first day of school 848512013-08-07 first day of school 848282013-08-07 first day of school 848122013-08-07 first day of school 84815 The prep: So the night before, we decided to do something about this mop of orange hair:2013-08-06 first day of school 84890(Max and his friends decided “Sun-In” was a great thing to try this summer…) Nothing a little box of hair dye couldn’t fix:2013-08-06 first day of school 849062013-08-06 first day of school 84907 The clothes were set out and we filled up the backpacks with all the school supplies we could round up (I never buy supplies before the first day of school because the lists the teachers request are always different from the generic ones they list online, but this year my little girls were dismayed they didn’t have backpacks full of stuff like all their friends did so we improvised a little…).2013-08-06 first day of school 84900 In the morning, per Lucy’s ongoing request, we repeated our last day of school breakfast that she was so fascinated with.2013-08-07 first day of school 84799 She had her sock monkey Rainbow Dash (who’s story is back here) join us for the rainbow pancakes.2013-08-07 first day of school 84800 Shift #1: The high school-ers.2013-08-07 first day of school 84819 They got a ride from Jake, the best guy around 🙂2013-08-07 first day of school 84806 I have a picture of these two together on the first day every single year since kindergarten except for last.  (Dang it!)2013-08-07 first day of school 84808 2013-08-07 first day of school 84809 Shift #2: Our new Junior High girl:2013-08-07 first day of school 84837 …with one of her best friends Chloe…trying to act like Jr. High girls:2013-08-07 first day of school 84834 And finally on to Shift #3: …my only two elementary school girls left:2013-08-07 first day of school 84849 I swear all four of my girls were just barely in elementary school together (6th, 3rd, Kindergarten and preschool). Now we’re just down to the two lone survivors:2013-08-07 first day of school 848502013-08-07 first day of school 84857 …who have a long time to wait til school starts after those big kids leave which happily leaves their mother more time to take pictures.2013-08-07 first day of school 84863 Let’s go ahead and zoom in on that toothless smile for a sec:2013-08-07 first day of school 84864There we go. 2013-08-07 first day of school 84871 These girls rode their bikes:2013-08-07 first day of school 84876 And these ones let their moms take them like good girls should 🙂2013-08-07 first day of school 84878 Traditional “After-School-Cookie-Chat”:2013-08-07 first day of school 848892013-08-07 first day of school 84910 I have learned over the years that kids will sit and tell their mother all kinds of stuff if there are some fresh-baked cookies in front of them.2013-08-07 first day of school 84911 That’s one of my fav. memories over the years. Tonight at dinner we went around the table and each person told two things about their day.  One had to be true, and one had to be fake.  Kind of fun to hear what they came up with.  No one believed that an alien came to our new house while I was working on some stuff over there though… And tonight it was off to Target to fill up on supplies:2013-08-07 first day of school 849352013-08-07 first day of school 84937 …and set those backpacks out for another day.2013-08-06 first day of school 84901 Oh boy. The day before yesterday I was ready for the first time ever for school to start. I had picked up my hundred-and-tenth wet towel scrunched into a ball on the floor from the pool and wiped up my three-hundred-and-forty-second puddle of lemonade slushy creations dripped all over the kitchen and picked up after forty-five neighbor kids and I was just ready for all the hoopla to begin. But then yesterday when it really happened I wasn’t so sure. …until I got through a million odds and ends that needed to be done two weeks ago on the new house and they were suddenly already home so I didn’t have to miss them too much. It’s going to be a good year.

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  1. I love reading about first day traditions. Everything about the first day of school is exciting for me! My daughter will start 3rd grade this year. I can't wait to have her home that afternoon. I think I will bake some cookies for her 🙂

  2. I love some of your family traditions, like the cookies/chat after school. And I just can't believe you already started school there and I still didn't go on vacation this summer! :p

  3. As a teacher, it's so nice to see what happens on the 'other side' of the first day back. The kids come into school and when they leave you don't think about things like traditions that their parents have 🙂

  4. I just love pictures of all your kiddos together. They are precious Shawni! And always seem to pose and stand together just so 🙂
    In Texas our little ones start school early (7:40am) and middle and high schoolers start later (8:30 and 9).
    Their thinking is little kids are early risers and teenagers are up late doing home work etc. so they need to start later.

  5. Great pix. I'm curious – do most children in the US go back to school early in August & if so, why? As you say, it's still summer.

    Over here the children don't go back until the first or 2nd week of September.

    I like the special breakfast & the cookies & chat after school – you have some brill ideas:)

  6. Oh my! It's already "la rentrée"? In France, the first day is in September. And holiday begins in first days of July. Two months enjoying summer, beach, family…
    So I have a question for the American readers, in US, every children are starting school in August? You only have one month of holiday?
    Sorry if I made mistakes in English! (and BTW, I would love to share differences about France and USA if someone is interested…)
    Bonne journée!

  7. LOVE the traditions! LOVE the smiles! HATE that our kids go back so early! BUMMED that our girls didn't get a chance to be pencils this summer! Maybe next year! Have a great first week!

  8. I was thinking that your kids sure go back early (ours start August 26, and get out June 3) but I remembered that their school year ended much earlier than ours. We haven't bought much for our high school girls since they will get lists on the first day, but I know a trip to Target will be planned for that evening! And I think I'll try the cookie idea…but it will have to wait until after soccer and xc practices.

  9. I have been looking forward to this post, I always get good idea's! we too don't go back until first week in Sept 🙂
    Ok, I have a question that I am havng a battle with myself. SO, my little ones are going into kinder, 2nd and 4th grade, and the 2 & 4th girls have backpacks that are still like brand new from last year, literally, new. But I am having that fight with, do I buy new ones 'just because' and then end up with bunch of backpacks hanging around, or do I just buy them new, because, that's what I would normally do.. what do u think?

  10. When I moved to the desert, it surprised me that the kids goes back to school so early in August. The high temperatures are still over 100! Then moving to the midwest where the first day is after Labor Day seems so much better. Welcome back to the school year!

  11. I love how you document by getting lots of great pictures of the kids each year. It's priceless!

    I can't believe school starts so early these days. My sister's kids also went back yesterday, and I swear summer vacation is 2 – 3 weeks shorter than it was
    when I was in school (and that wasn't all that long ago!).

    Enjoy your few hours of time to yourself during the day!

    Your paralyzed friend,

  12. Wow school in August, we don't go back until September either. I know you break up so much earlier than us but school in August does sound a bit mad.
    You're lucky Max only went for the sun in, one year my daughter phoned me at the beginning of the hold to ask could she dye her hair non permanent red. When she arrived home it was permanent burgundy and nothing would cover it up.

  13. You've inspired me to plan to hit Target after school on the first day to buy all the stuff. It cost me $300 just to register my two junior high boys so I'm dreading the back to school shopping. Yikes! Cute pics! I love your fun traditions!

  14. Hard to believe that school already start in your area when people just started summer vacation in my part of Germany. BTW, I love Max's Berlin shirt!
    Have a great day!

  15. Wow- can't believe your kids are back to school already! Mine do not go back till end of August. Please share where you got Miss Claire's backpack!

  16. That is crazy you guys start so early! We are state mandated that we can not start until after Labor Day! I can't imagine sending them so early 🙁 Loved this post!

  17. I love your traditions! AND your beautiful children are growing up much to fast. Miss Lucy is such a pretty little girl. Claire is a sweetheart. Grace is just always so full of herself. Elle is a young lady. Max is so tall and good looking! Don't worry I'm a grandmother and can appreciate beauty when I see it. LOL Love your posts and those beautiful pictures.

  18. Your blog continually inspires me. Like some of the others, i would love to know where the backpacks came from, especially the two on the left.

  19. I love this post! And I just about had a panic attack when I saw the picture of Claire and Lucy and realized my oldest is starting her last year of elementary school! I'm not ready for middle school yet! Why do they have to grow up so fast?!

  20. I love how special you make everything for your children. Looking to adopt a 30 something Californian? :)I can't wait to see more of your new house and plans for it. Love your blog by the way, I stop by when I need some Mom inspiration.

  21. I totally forgot about school starting….in the middle of the week in early August. Totally weird! BUT so glad that it demands that you take these great pictures! Lucy melts me. Love those hilarious teeth and those darling pink glasses!

  22. awww I love these pics! I only have 1 at school but next year that all changes with twins starting school and 1 starting preschool!

    love the traditions!


  23. My Dd starts Junior Kindergarten this year. You have given me some wonderful ideas for first day traditions! Thanks for sharing you fun home with us!

  24. Has anybody told you that little white line on Claire's nose is probably from allergies? As in, she rubs her nose upwards when it's itchy… As an AZ native, I have the same line and an allergist finally explained it to us when I was about 15. At that point it was too late and I forever have a little scar along my nose. My oldest is 6 and guess what?! Line. So, we're focusing on pinching our nose down. lol.

  25. Re-red my comment and worried perhaps it sounded critical.. So, wanted to add… the kids and photos are beautiful as usual! Thanks for taking the time to share all your great ideas with us! Cheers to a great school year!!

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