First Day of School

For thirteen years I have always had the company of a child in my house. Sometimes it's been two kids, sometimes three, but rarely am I home alone. This year is going to be different. My youngest son just entered first grade this year and with that milestone for him, comes a milestone for me as a stay at home mom. I am now without kids in the house from 9:30-3 five days a week.

I've had lots of people ask me what I am going to do with myself, and honestly, I don't know. But I think that the days will go by quickly and between blogging, taking care of the house, and helping out in the kids schools (all three kids are at three different schools), I think that I will fill my days without any problem.

We've spent the last few weeks preparing for the start of school. The lists for school supplies seem to keep getting longer, but having done this for a few years, I feel like I have a pretty good system in place.

When I get the lists for school supplies I combine them into one master list. I print off that master list and keep it with me at all times in my purse. That way, when you are out shopping the sales before school (I love the 1 cent sales!), I can stock up on all of the supplies. I always buy extra to donate for the local school that our church adopts.

I then keep the supplies all together in a closet until a few days before school, then I spread them all out. The kids each individually get to come in and take their school list and go "shopping" out of the supplies. I can usually get all of the kids supplies and the "extras" for donation under $20. Each year, there are a few supplies that even I can't get on sale!

We got excited for the year with back to school nights. Owen is in a superhero themed room with a BOY teacher. Super fun!

We started a tradition about four years ago where we have the last family dinner of the summer and a goal setting night. I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions, but when back to school rolls around we are always setting up a new routine. With that new routine comes new expectations and new goals for the year.

After Owen's back to school night, we headed to our local Dairy Queen for some treats and some time to plan.

I started a notebook with our goals for the year so that the kids can look back on their goals from each year and see how far they have come.

Want to know some of our goals? For Owen (first grade), he wants to rock his math facts. Isabella (fourth grade) she wants to run another 5k in under 29 minutes and Aidan (8th grade) is going to seek help from teachers when he doesn't understand something. We also set family goals and one of our goals is to continue volunteering in the community and at church.

On our way out of Dairy Queen this dog "driving" gave us all a little chuckle. I love those moments when we can be a family and laugh with each other.

The first day of school came quickly and the younger two kids were ready to go with hours to spare!

Can I take a second to talk about their new backpacks?

When I graduated from High School my best friend Audrey's family gave me this purple LL Bean backpack as a graduation gift. We take this bag with us everywhere! We lovingly call it "the purple bag". It's our carry on, our beach bag, and our day pack. It can hold so much stuff, it's comfortable with it's adjustable straps, it's got a hundred pockets for storing a little bit of everything and through the years and all of it's beatings it doesn't have any evidence of wear on it but I know if it did, LL Bean would stand behind it's product and replace it. I love good customer service.

After lugging the purple bag around Portland, I decided I would look into getting the kids their very own LL Bean backpacks. Knowing these bags would stand the test of time, we took a lot of time picking out just the right colors for the kids. Owen could easily use this bag from first grade until graduation! That's a long term commitment.

At around $30 each, these bags hold their own in price with some of the other brands out there, but knowing that they are made so well, and will last FOREVER, it's worth the money!

Disclaimer: I didn't get any compensation from LL Bean. I am a mom who loves their product and wants to share the love. But if LL Bean wants to compensate me, I wouldn't turn it down!

And now with Starbucks in hand and a quiet house for the first time in months, I am going to sit back, relax and enjoy my time. After all, that clock is ticking until the first kid gets home from his first day.

What do you do while the kids are in school?

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