First of all, there's really not any Secret Squirrel activities taking place at the One Carbon Hill Headquarters. I just really loved The Bride's suggestion for possible renaming of this blog in the event that I don't start writing again soon and decided to use it as the title for today's post. As I very briefly recapped in the last post there have been lots of fun activities that have recently transpired, but now that school is back in session all that fun comes to a screeching halt. In its place stands school and homework, practices for various activities multiple days a week and weekends filled with games and traveling. We've had one weekend of our new "normal" and I'm already exhausted.
After two days of teacher institute, the hallways of our schools finally filled with the smell of new shoes, the sound of chatter and giggles, and the promise of another year of learning and adventure. For the first time in her school career, McKenna wasn't entirely loving the idea of going back to school. She was excited to see her friends on a daily basis again, yes, but she was really enjoying the heck out of summer too. You wouldn't guess she had any hesitation about starting third grade though on the first day back. Out of bed and dressed for school in her favorite color before 6:30 am, she walked the halls of the elementary school with swagger ready to tackle another year. She's only three years older than she was on her first day of kindergarten yet she looks easily 10 years older in this picture. I find this highly unfair and totally inexcusable.
Elaina was equally eager to start school by the time the first day arrived. She, of course, wanted to look her best. At the back-to-school night the evening before, she met her teacher wearing a navy blue dress with sequined hem, bedazzled sandals, and coordinating jewelry. Elaina attempted to wear my great-aunt's costume jewelry she was gifted when in Michigan (three necklaces and a gold cuff on her wrist, FYI) but I somehow managed to convince her those accessories were a little too fancy for such an event. For the first day of school she settled for a simple knit dress. Tomorrow she's wearing a shirt with jewels picked out by The General for her sixth birthday. I can already tell The General and I should consider second jobs to start saving for her prom dress in ten years.
Reports of the first day of first and third grade were both favorable with the only negative coming from Elaina. She claimed she had absolutely no time to eat her lunch. When questioned about this again later - as I was a little concerned that my child had gone an entire afternoon on an empty stomach - she reiterated that she "only" had time to eat her slice of pizza, most of her carrots, and a couple of Teddy Grahams. I think my fears that she might starve will go unfounded.
For the third year we are spending late summer and early fall Saturday mornings at the fields behind the elementary school fulfilling our duty as soccer parents. Elaina is playing with the big dogs in U8 this year and the fact that she's one of the younger players on her team this year is definitely showing. The fierceness and go-get-em attitude she exhibited last year is nowhere to be found this year. I'm going to put a big part of the blame on the fact that not five minutes into her first practice she sustained a bruised nose courtesy of a poorly aimed ball to the face from short range. Since that moment she takes a position of safety - sort of a standing fetal position maneuver if you can picture that - any time the ball comes anywhere near her (and I'm saying "near" means anything within a three foot radius). She responds similarly when a group, or even individual, runs toward her with or without the ball. Saturday's game was admittedly a little frustrating for The General and I mostly because we see her potential. The girl's got some speed and we know she has the spunk and competitiveness to hold her own out there on the field. Somehow we just need to get her to conquer her fears of the ball hurting her again, get her to stop biting her nails the entire time she's on the field (including while she's in motion), stop attempting handstands and cartwheels when the ball is on the opposite end of the field, avoid tripping over her own feet repeatedly, and generally just pay attention to what is happening during the game and we'll be golden. Bottom line: she had fun out there, and if I can my own advice then that's all that really counts.
Last fall, McKenna declared that she would like to start cheer leading. We looked into the competition cheer team, but an almost $400 price tag on that activity was not something we were prepared to commit to. Instead, late last spring, we signed her up to join the cheer squad for the Miners, our town's junior football league. She started practice on July 21st and has spent two hours a day, four days a week learning jumps, chants, holds, and other various cheer leading type maneuvers that until a month ago were completely foreign to The General and I. Her first game was on Sunday. She claimed she was nervous; watching her bound out of her bedroom with the enthusiasm of a thousand cheerleaders that morning you would have never known. Trying to embrace the essence of a good cheer mom, I did my best to french braid her hair into something that would be both functional (out of her face) and fancy (because, duh, cheerleaders are supposed to always look adorable). The glitter provided by her coach was a nice touch. Cheer hair is my new favorite thing.
McKenna and her squad rocked it on that sideline and cheered their team on to what I'm sure will be the first of many victories. The General and I also quickly learned that this world of junior football is serious business. Before the end of the game we had already secured our own tent for the rest of the season and started making plans for what we'd pack in our cooler for the following weekend. These parents don't mess around.
Seriously, how adorable in this group of girls? I know, I know. Some of you out there are cringing at the shade of green and hint of gold. I get it. But look past that and take in the cuteness. Then please note that the third girl in from the right? The one with the really great tan and super sweet smile? Is there any question that she is the most beautiful cheerleader ever in the history of cheerleading? I mean, seriously, I had a tear in my eye almost the entire time she was out there.
So, that's our life from now until the end of October. School, soccer, football games, repeat. The girls are happy, and I guess that makes sacrificing sleep, socializing and our sanity worth it in the end. So goes the life of parents to school aged children I'm told.