Tuesday was my sons first day of school (sniffle, sniffle). There he was with a backpack practically bigger than him. I actually held it together for the first drop off. It helped he was so excited, albeit a little shy. Honestly, I think I was actually excited the day was finally here, too. I felt like the preparation was a bit daunting leading up to the school year.
In the last month I feel like I have spent a small fortune on school supplies, shoes, school uniforms (my son is in a public charter school that requires uniforms), and lunch boxes. Is it any wonder I am doing a home spending hiatus? Now, none of these purchases were extravagant, but making them all in a short period of time really adds up. Oh, and don’t get me started on finding shoes for him and what I felt was the ridiculous cost I had to pay for shoes his size that have velcro, because they can’t wear ties shoes unless they can tie them independently.
The anxiety I had leading up to the start of school was probably not helped by switching schools two weeks before the school year started. No, we are not super neurotic about where our kids go. We did not start applying to kindergarten programs when he was still in diapers or anything. Minnesota, in general, has very good public school system, so we would have been fine wherever he went. At the same time we wanted to give him the best education we could reasonably find. There are many charter schools in our surrounding area that do enrollment by lottery and waitlist. We entered two lotteries and got into one and waitlisted for the other. Just a few weeks ago we were notified we got in on the one we had been waitlisted for. We had one day to decide if we would change and hardly anytime to get prepared for the new school. For many reasons we decided to change and are really happy with the decision. Not so happy with the short notice.
The last two weeks has been a whirlwind. I returned all the school supplies for the first school and picked up the stuff for the new school…some things we had to order on Amazon. Ordering uniforms that had to be embroidered with the shool crest and getting them in time for the first day was a little nerve-wracking. Thankfully, we discovered Land’s End school uniform program is awesome and they got us everything in plenty of time.
Through all the big changes, I found comfort in the little things. One bright spot for me in all the back to school readiness were the labels for all his school gear. I love Name Bubbles (and I was not paid or perked to say that…I really love them). I ordered Name Bubbles when I sent my boys off to daycare and they were fabulous. A few years later when I wanted to sell some of their shoes at our garage sale (a total bust you can read about here), I had a difficult time removing the labels…that is actually a good thing when you don’t want to lose your kids stuff.
Please ignore the blurry swirls. The real labels are crisp and clear. I am just trying to protect our private info in these pics.
For Kindergarten, I ordered the school combo pack, which has both dishwasher safe and laundry safe labels. I adore their monogram style and their fun color combos. Some of the color options are a bit crazy, but I found a nice version with just a punch of fun with the bright green. The little round labels, called Bitty Bubbles, are perfect for clothes care tags. I had to label all of his uniforms shirts and pants. The little feet go inside his shoes, and the visual of the foot helps him put his shoes on the right feet. The other assorted sizes and emergency labels were great for lunch boxes, folders, backpacks and everything else.
So after all the build up to the first day, drop of went well. I only barely cried before we got out of the car, but then I pulled it together. I have been a working mom for most of this little guys life, so I have already said goodbye more times than I would care for. He was so ready, even asking daddy to put him down cutting his goodbye hug short. He was ready to meet his new friends.
The smartest thing we did to get ready for the start of school was taking first day photos in advance. We took him over to the school on Labor Day (day before the first day) all decked out in his uniform and took pictures. It would have been way too crazy to get pictures on the actual first day. Instead, the day before school we had the exterior of the school all to ourselves and had a nice relaxed photo shoot…capturing him exploring the outside of his school for the first time.
Thanks for letting me share this big milestone in our lives. I am many things…a business woman, a decorator, a blogger…but above all else I am a mother.
Noel M says
Such a great idea with the labels and early photo shoot! You’re a very brave mommy to hold it together.
PS – I love your sneakers in the shot with you and your son. :)
Thanks Noel. I love those sneakers, too…is it any surprise they are my colors? They are so me…they make me happy whenever I where them.
Awww, Jackie, that is so touching.
We loved Land’s End for school uniforms also and they have a great return policy.
I love name bubbles. When I was a daycare as. Director I recommended them to everyone. They are amazing. I handed my son’s clothes down to a friend’s child and she immediately asked where I got the labels in his clothes.
Cheryl Balmas says
First day of school…a great milestone! I enjoyed seeing all the ‘first day’ pictures this week on facebook, blogs, etc. and yours included. Don’t fret; I cried on my son’s last day of high school. Seriously. He was my last to graduate. I had asked him if it was okay to take his picture by his car on his way to his very last day of h.s. so I could put that picture next to his first day of kindergarten. While he was getting ready upstairs I slipped a handmade card/mini photo journal of his ‘milestone’ school events with a song verse and a few ‘words of wisdom’ on how to enjoy his last day at hs. He called me from his school parking lot to ‘thank me’ for making HIM cry on his last day of school. LOL Ahhh, enjoy these years, they go so fast!
Pam Zirbel says
Yayy Jackie & hubby!! I didnt breed, so saying ‘bye’ the kiddos on the first day of school would have pretty much ruined me!!! LOL…I imagine it is a relief that they head off into their own world only to come back and tell you, excitedly, about their new friends, homework,who pulled little Susies’ hair and such!! Independance isnt my strong suit as I would have home schooled my kids! LOL…just to keep them near, but I also imagine that you need ‘Mommy’ time. ESPECIALLY as busy as you with all your new adventures! So proud of you and your family accomplisments!!!! And thank you for having your site!! Great photos by the way!!! And great idea of doing them before school started!!!