Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Day of School 2013-2014

I know I'm a little late getting this posted, but better late than never, right? My kids leave to school at three different times, so getting a photo of all four of them at the same time was an impossibility.

This year, I have kids at three different schools, so one more than last year. Last year I only had two schools to deal with, but Z was in kindergarten. Personally, I believe that kindergarten is the biggest trick perpetuated by parents. Everyone THINKS that kindergarten means there will be a lot more freedom to the parent in charge of getting kids to/from school. LIES!!!!!!  It actually ties you down more because you have to make sure that you're around to get them to and from school. Want to drive off to something 45 minutes away? Not possible.

This year, however, heralds unprecedented freedom for me. Two exciting things changed this year. First, and most exciting, is that Z is now in first grade. That means that once I get S & Z to school, I am free (sort of) to my own devices until 3:25 pm.  Second: K is now in high school (eeeeeek!!!!), and conveniently enough, the IB high school just happens to be our neighborhood school. Even better, we are far enough away that she qualifies for the bus! This means that transportation isn't my responsibility this year. No Jazz Band rehearsals. No carpools for her.
Note the lack of pine trees for background.

Speaking of carpools, my junior high carpool for M has FIVE parents in it this year, so no more rotating Fridays to keep track of. I make two carpool trips a week, and that's it.

So far this year, the only challenging thing has been whether or not I can access my car and/or the road when taking the little kids to school. Road construction is still ongoing, and more often than not, the road is closed, which means a couple mile detour to the school that is 5 blocks away. Even more exciting, now that curb and gutter is done, I've found my car blocked in the driveway by misc. street workers. I've had to make it my policy to take the kids to school 15-20 minutes early to school. That way, if I come out and the cement truck is pouring cement and blocking my car in (like it did yesterday), it's no big deal to just walk the kids to school.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Monarch Caterpillars

When the little kids were in preschool, we were asked to keep an eye out for monarch butterfly caterpillars. They school thought it was a fun activity to keep them in class, and then release the butterfly when it emerged from it's cocoon. Thus begun an obsession for me. I also thought that would be a fantastic thing to watch, so I took up the cause with passion.

I spent 5+ hours a week, closely inspecting every milkweed plant I came across, looking for monarch caterpillars. You'd think I would've found one easily, but I went FOUR YEARS and never saw one. I didn't look for them much unless it was August or September, but every August, I'd start watching for them, and give up when the frost hit in October.

After the kids graduated preschool, I didn't look as carefully, but I couldn't walk past a milkweed plant without glancing at the leaves to see if they appeared to be nibbled on or not.

My good friend Jackie remembered this quirk. She called me yesterday to tell me that while camping, she'd found NINE of the beauties, and did I want a couple? OF COURSE!!! She came by yesterday and dropped off three. I was almost beside myself with giddiness.

When I woke up this morning, I saw that the milkweed leaves looked a little wilty, so I knew I needed more. Because of my longstanding obsession, I knew just where to find a bunch, so I headed off to the nearby walking trail to grab some leaves and hurry home before the little kids woke up and M had left for school.

I got to the clump of milkweed leaves and as I got closer, I couldn't believe my luck! Sitting there on a leaf was a caterpillar!!!  I carefully plucked it's leaf, as well as a few others. Then..... OH MY GOODNESS! ANOTHER caterpillar! I was shocked that as soon as I quit looking, I found two.  I grabbed them both and took them home.

One of the caterpillars has already started to spin it's cocoon. I can't wait to watch the whole process.