School’s backĀ 

We got the haircuts, the school clothes (braved Polaris Mall and wanted to poke my eyes out), the book bags, the lunch boxes, the notebooks, and even managed to get a couple of showers in prior to the first day of school. The kids were so excited – they both couldn’t fall asleep. It was like Christmas Eve. I was taken aback at how charged up they were to head back to school although I know in a few weeks they will be dragging out of bed…. 

Maria set her alarm for 5:30 am. Yes, 5:30. Why? Because she needed to spend 45 minutes on her hair. How is she my child?! She borrowed the “beach wave” curling iron from my girlfriend to assist with the do she wanted for her first day. My girlfriend had styled Ri’s hair a few weeks ago with the iron and Ri loved it. We laugh because my girlfriend’s daughter is a replica of me – athletic clothes, sports watch, hair in a ponytail and Ri is like my girlfriend with her sweet hair styles and trendy clothes. But I digress…. 

Jon and I shook our heads as we laid in bed listening to Ri bumble around in the bathroom. At around 6:15, Ri came into our room and tapped my shoulder.

“Mom, the curling iron is really hot. Could you do my waves in my hair?”

Are you kidding? Did she really ask me, the woman who puts her hair in a pony every day, to do her hair?! 

I rose out of bed determined to curl her hair and curl it well. Ri had straightened most of her hair but put a small section on each side in a ponytail on top of her head. She just wanted the hair in the pony to be wavy. Not so hard, heh?!

Yea, well, for someone that never uses curling irons, it was torture. I curled the first strand and when it came out, the hair was kined in every direction. Ri took one look in the mirror and bawled. Then she hyperventilated. Then she sobbed. I grabbed another strand determined to do it right. More kinks. What the he–?! More hyper-ventilating. I tried again. No luck. Ri bolted into her room crying. I walked in and made the executive decision.  

“We are gonna have to straighten the hair in the pony and try waves another time. I can’t do waves right now.”

She gave an affirmative nod and cried a few more tears. I told her again I was sorry. She stood still in the bathroom as I tried to straighten the kinks. She finally spoke:

“It’s ok, mom. I should have known you couldn’t curl hair.”

Well, at least she’s honest in her downtrodden moments. She actually looked just as adorable with the straightened ponytail look and I think she felt half way decent about it, too. Mom came through in a half-assed way….

Mario, meanwhile, slipped on a pair of athletic shorts and a t-shirt and was ready to hit the road. Thank goodness. 

I made Ri and Mario take obligatory pictures out front prior to heading off for their first day. One of these days, I will gather all of these “first day of school” pictures and do something with them….

Ri left at 7:30 to walk up the street and meet her two girlfriends. Mario and I biked up to meet them so I could get pictures. They all looked so mature! I can’t imagine how taken aback I will be when they hit high school.

Mario and I then biked to RLS. We got there early so we walked around and talked. Mario eventually spotted his buddies and bolted from my side to see them. I caught up and asked for a picture. What was I thinking? They dashed away from me as soon as they saw the camera. Where the girls were mature, the boys were 3rd grade crazy.

A few other moms and I were able to direct our sons over for a picture eventually but it took some muscle. 

And then the bell rang. Mario did not ask me or Jon to go in with him. He didn’t even wave goodbye. He just disappeared into the masses. 

First day back to school

I woke Ri up from her slumber at 6:45 am this morning. She had wanted to wake up at 6:30 am but I struggled to get out of bed for 15 minutes. Jon and I were rather liberal with our wake up times this Summer – getting up at 7 or 7:30 to get ready for work. We knew that would end today since the kids would be wanting to head out early for the first day of school. 

I got Rocco out of his kennel and took him for a quick walk in the woods. When I returned, Ri and Mario were dressed and preparing their lunches. Ri was packing salad and ranch dressing in her new containers. Mario was watching her. She walked over to the counter after placing her containers in her lunch box and began dispensing mini M&Ms into Mario’s yogurt. I had complained the night before that Mario needs to eat Greek yogurt to get more protein. But he refuses to eat yogurt unless he can dump the crushed Oreos or M&Ms in it. So Ri went to the store with me last night and bought a large container of Greek yogurt and a bag of mini M&Ms. 

“This will save you money, mom, because you can just pour the yogurt in a container and sprinkle a few M&Ms on for Mario instead of buying a bunch of separate yogurts that don’t have as much good stuff in them.” 

The girl is a born mother. Mario began pouring more M&Ms in his yogurt and Maria stopped him. 

“Whoa there buddy, that’s enough chocolate for you.”


They put their water bottles and lunch boxes in their book bags and slung the bags over their backs. They knew I’d need to take my pictures of them so they scurried outside to get them over with as quickly as possible.


They look a bit gawky for their first day, in a sweet way. Ri’s got the fifth grade “I’m growing into my body and it’s strange” look and Mario has the second grade “I’m way too cool for pictures look.”

But they broke loose once they hit their respective schools. Ri ran around with all her girlfriends laughing and playing. The pictures say it all.


I met up with Mario after some other moms got the crazy photos for me.

By the time I arrived, he looked like a little angel carrying a backpack and ready to conquer school.  

He had no desire for Jon or me to head into school with him. When the bell rang, he and a throng of kids rushed inside the doors anxious to see their rooms. Now, to keep that excitement all year…!