And they’re off . . .

I don’t even want to say how much I spent yesterday on school supplies, fees, and school lunch accounts. (Instead I’ll just imply that it was a large amount.) It’s all worth it–even a bargain–but it sure feels like a lot when you pay it all at once.

I’m not as sad to send the kids back to school this year as I sometimes am. We didn’t nearly do everything on our to-do list and wish list this summer–but we did do a lot of those things, and on the whole the summer was . . . satisfying. (How very unlike me to feel that way.) Of course I always wish school would start in the actual fall instead of the hottest part of the summer, but I’m also a little resigned. I’m even cautiously optimistic that I’ll get a lot done during the hours when it’s just Hazel and me at home–although I do remember, from previous years, that I’ll need to conserve energy for the crazy after-school and dinner hours.

Anyway, here are the obligatory back-to-school photos:


We can’t seem to keep up with a precise measurement to answer people’s constant question of how tall Isaac is these days, but we think he’s around 6′ 3″. With a son that tall, it’s impossible not to be constantly reminded of the poignant truth that kids do, in fact, grow up. (And up, and up, and up.) He turned sixteen just before our summer vacation. He has yet to go on a date, get his driver’s license, or get a job–but he has plans and is making progress toward all of those things. I think he’ll have a fabulous junior year of high school.

He ran a Ragnar (overnight relay race) with his high-school cross-country team this past weekend (they won handily) and then went to a multi-stake church dance, and in this photo you might be able to see that he’s still recovering. (He actually overslept, but had given himself enough of a margin that he still left for school on time.)


I think Mabel’s added a little height this summer, too–although, again, we haven’t actually measured. In the past couple of weeks I’ve found index cards with lists and schedules of outfits and hairstyles she plans for the first couple weeks of school. She says she doesn’t usually end up following the lists she makes–she just enjoys making the lists. She’s been somewhat anxious about school starting–she’s afraid she’s forgotten all the math she learned last year, etc.–but I imagine that, as in previous years, she’ll adjust quickly and thrive.


I doubt there was ever a sweeter, spunkier fourth-grader. Rose gets to have the same fourth-grade teacher Isaac and Mabel had, and they’ve told her so much about how they enjoyed his class that she’s been very excited for school to start. God bless good, kind, hard-working, fun-loving teachers!

BacksRose and Henry wanted a photo of their backpacks.

This spring Rose said to me, “I’ll bet you’re sorry you let Henry and me walk to school together, because we became such good friends!” Um, no? I’m thrilled that they enjoy walking together–even if it’s true that their rapport has led them to be collaborators in mischief.

This morning, though, they were downright saintly. The first day of school started an hour later than their usual schedule, and Rose suggested to Henry that while they waited to leave, they could say their prayers and write in their journals. Rose was also telling me how this year she plans to continue teaching Henry math while they walk home–apparently last year they worked on multiplication. “And Henry’s actually a pretty smart kid!” (Don’t let my selective reporting fool you that my kids are always this saintly–but I sure do enjoy these little moments when they come.)


Henry actually does usually act somewhat saintly at school. (He saves most of his mischief for home.) Hopefully he’ll be as agreeable for his second-grade teacher as he was in kindergarten and first grade, and will have another happy year.


Last but not least, Hazel gets to do “home preschool” with me. Right now she’s profiting from the peace and quiet to make her Playmobils talk and sing:

Playmobil 1: “Okay, um, what do you like?”

P2: “I’d like . . . nothing. I’m not hungry.”

P1: “Would you like some marshmallows?”

P2: “I’d like some marshmeanies.”

P1: “They’re not marshmeanies, they’re marshmallows.”

(And so on . . .)

This entry was posted in Meanwhile in the real world, My kids actually are funny (and sweet and wonderful), Parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to And they’re off . . .

  1. Acheté says:

    Thank you for taking the time for pictures and stories!

  2. Kayli says:

    Your kids are all adorable. I especially love that particular picture of Henry.

    • zstitches says:

      Thanks, Kayli! I just realized I hadn’t been to your blog in a long time, and clicked and saw the hilarious, strange, but beautiful deer and fox photos. Have you left Switzerland? Are you blogging somewhere else now? Maybe I should try to track you down on Facebook. 🙂

  3. Tracy Hall Jr says:


  4. I love every child, picture, and story. Henry’s photo smile kills me (as ever). Isaac’s new do is way cool. Such a perfect description of Rose, “sweet and spunky”. Hmm, who else do I know who, like Mabel, made lists…? Maybe not exactly the same kinds of lists, but this person I am thinking of put samples of all her fabrics in a binder (good idea!), for instance; and made it through university by keeping lists.

    Hi, Hazel! I’m relieved to learn you know the difference between a marshmeanie and a marshmallow.

    • zstitches says:

      I put fabric samples in a binder? That only vaguely rings a bell–but it sounds like me. Now I have way too much fabric for that method. 🙂 Although . . . hmm. It could be very helpful for knowing what’s at the bottoms of stacks.

  5. Rachel Matta says:

    You’re such a good mom, selective reporting or no. 🙂 I really enjoy your blog.

    • zstitches says:


      You should have seen my kids yesterday. Full-scale mutiny for a while there. But I’ve been saying many prayers for help to not yell at them so much, and it really does make a difference. I mostly succeeded yesterday. 🙂

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