We had a big day on Wednesday. It was the day before George's first day back to school and I knew we needed to have a special day. I wanted us to just soak each other all in-- I wanted them (J, G, & P) to have all of me and I wanted to have all of them. I didn't have any real plans-- just to be together. That night after George had neatly laid out his school clothes and backpack for the next morning, I tucked him into bed with lots of kisses and a full heart. He was asleep quickly, but my mind didn't let me rest for awhile.
(it's a dark photo, but I had to take a picture because I love his clothes and backpack laid out on the floor. and i also love that he refuses to sleep under his covers because he doesn't like having to re-make his bed the next morning.)
I wanted to memorize our day.
We started off going to Provo with John. Like I said, I really wanted all of us to be together. John had a class in the morning, and then nothing else until later on that afternoon. We figured that if we went with him to Provo we could spend the majority of the day all together and just drop him off when he needed to be in class. While he went to a real fun class (ha, I believe it is called Biometry and Experimental Design), the kids and I explored campus. Pearl ran away and I sent George to retrieve her. Like usual.
Come back, Little Sister.
I love the vice grip that he has on her arm; she doesn't seem too pleased about it, however.
Our first stop was the BYU Bookstore. We looked at books and clothes. We followed Cosmo the Cougar's paw prints down the stairs to the kids' clothes while George creatively (and independently) started singing, "Follow the paw prints, follow the paw prints, follow the paw prints, don't go astray!" to the tune of the Primary song Follow the Prophet. We ended up at the candy counter where my kids wanted to park and stay awhile. And since it was "Do Whatever I Want Day" according to George, I let them both pick out a treat and bought 1/2 pound of each. At 9:00 in the morning. (If you start to twitch at the thought of kids eating lots of sugar you may just want to skip this post. Seriously. It's bad.)
Then we meandered through the Wilk to the Cougareat (warning: more sugar ahead). I have so many memories in these places, and it was fun to be there with my kids, with no pressure to rush off to a class or the stress of needing to study. We bought two donuts: sprinkles for George, and a giant glazed Y for Pearl (ahem, me). John met up with us here so we all sat down and shared bites together.
Pearl liked hugging hers more than she liked eating it. Don't worry, it didn't get wasted :).
She did, however, really like her brother's. Luckily he likes her so he shared.
When the donuts were gone we slowly made our way around campus to our car. It was fun to just walk along at the pace of little kids and look around. The kids alternated walking and riding on dad's shoulders.
Pearl loves her daddy. He gets way more cuddles than anyone else.
Walking to the car. If she looks like she has spunk it's because she does.
I really love BYUs campus. I am partial to my Salt Lake valley mountains, but I always find myself marveling over how majestic and beautiful the mountains surrounding campus are.
We left BYU and drove towards a toy store that I had sort of heard about this one time but didn't really know if it existed or where it was (if that sounds vague it's because it is). Happily, we found it the very first place I drove to and we didn't even have to enlist the help of Google. We spent quite some time there. George rode various toys all around the store looking at all of the fun things on shelves.
Pearl wanted to ride on something, too, and was happy when she found this little pink animal. John put her on it and walked away. That didn't go over too well. Now you see her, now you don't. Sorry about the blur-- I took the picture as I saw her fall and started to move quickly to help her up.
Here she is riding something a bit more stable.
Pea LOVED the little shopping carts and she pushed hers around the store like it was her job. She was a baby on a mission.
She did make stops occasionally to point at something cool or to add something to her cart that she wanted to purchase. She thinks she's a grown up.
In the end there were no toys purchased (unless you count the $1.00 little whirly tube thing that John said he got for George but really got for himself), but we did leave with some gumballs and old fashioned sodas in glass bottles. (I love Pearl zooming by with her cart in the background.)
Oh, the sugar!
For lunch George chose pizza, and remember, it was Do Whatever He Wants Day, so pizza it was. While we waited for the pizza to cook, George colored and Pearl poured salt in my water.
And then she stirred it around.
I'm including the picture of Pearl feeding me the breadstick even though it's really awkward looking (both my face and the giant blurred breadstick in the foreground) because it's the only picture of the entire day that I am in. When my kids look back on this in a few years I want them to know I was there, too :).
Pineapple, onion, and tomato pizza. Our favorite. Except George pulls off the onions.
Pearl doesn't, though. She just goes for it. She will eat anything and everything. As long as she is allowed to feed herself, preferably with a fork. Ha ha, that full mouth is cracking me up.
After lunch we had to take John back to a class, so we went to the mall while we waited for him to be done. George wanted to go the the Disney Store and look for Halloween costumes and I had told him that he could pick out a new shirt for his first day of school. I didn't take many pictures in the mall, but George was loving these Spiderman gloves in the Disney Store so much that I had to pull it out and snap a couple. Plus I really liked the sparkley floor :).
We came home (by this time it was early evening), and I took Pearl to Target with me to pick up a few school supplies for George while the boys stayed behind. (I had wanted George to come with me to pick out his own supplies, but he wanted to stay home with his daddy, so I brought Pea with me instead.) When we got home John had to rush away for some church meetings, and while I normally would prefer him to be home with us, I actually kind of relished the time to put the kids down to bed myself and reflect alone in a quiet house. We loaded up George's backpack with his new supplies (he was so! excited! about the disposable camera that is his very own), and laid out his clothes (including the new shirt that he had picked out) on the floor. We read scriptures and said prayers on George's bed. He laid down while I went and nursed Pearl. I promised him once Pearl was in bed I would come back in and scratch his back. When I went back into his room he looked like this:
And so we are full circle, now. I scratched his back anyway, and laid down on the bed by him. I whispered to him that I loved him and that I was so glad we had spent such a happy day together.
Then I walked out the front door and under a sky of pink clouds I sat on the porch and thought about what an incredible privilege I have to be a mother. I had felt some guilt earlier in the week because I had been away from my children way more than I ever normally am. I had a bunch of meetings for work, and even though they were with either my mom or John's mom, and even though it was just for a couple of hours at a time, I still had been feeling like I had been away from my precious children too much. I don't like feeling like I am not the main person that they spend their days with. I am their mama. They need me. I need them. I just like them so much. Sitting on the porch I felt so grateful for the time we had together that day, and for the hundreds and hundreds of other days we've had together that have been perhaps less purposeful in our intent, but just as happy and just as full of soaking each other in. I know that this time in our lives is such a little blip-- that the season of just having young children at home with me is so fleeting. We are already losing bits and pieces of it three mornings a week when we head out the door to go to school. I just don't ever want to feel like I haven't sucked the marrow of this precious phase enough.
Thursday morning we were off. Both of my babies, ready for their first day. (Pearl is in the classroom with me again, but still, she really is a little student in our class. It's pretty much darling.)
George was so happy (and perhaps a little too social and talkative, but we're working on it :)) for his first day at school with his new teacher. I am excited about the things he'll learn and the growth we will surely see in his beautiful personality. But am I a little sad that he's so big? Yeah, a little. And kindergarten next year? Forget about it. (Sorry about the blur of these pictures. I was in a hurry and didn't have time to adjust the settings on my camera for the low light.)
(Don't you love George's "quiet shoes"? The kids change their shoes from outside shoes to "quiet shoes" for the classroom (another Montessori thing that I love), and these slippers are hand-me-downs from my little sisters. I love them so much.)
And here's my baby, looking much too old herself, checking out her new classroom. I seriously love this little school, and am so grateful to be teaching again, so grateful that my children are blessed to be in such an enriching and nurturing learning environment, and especially SO grateful that I get to be there with them. The best of all worlds, that's what this is.
Back with Costa Rica pictures soon, as promised.