Thursday, August 16, 2012

First day of school

Today was the first day of school.  I felt like Nemo "First day of school!  First day of school!"

But, it was.

I mean, it still is, but it was for the boys.

Obviously, I was so much more excited than they were (obnoxiously so), but I think every stay-at-home parent is.

Everyone, whether they want to admit it or not, thrives on some sort of routine.  One simply cannot flourish in chaos of the summer sort.

Summer is chaos.

I like order.

I don't like "routine" but I like routines and order.

It helps me focus.

It helps me thrive.

It helps my creativity proliferate.

It helps my to-do list diminish.

Welcome back to routine and order!  This morning went smoothly (in my eyes) and although there were a few grumbles (not from the children...) it all seemed like a well orchestrated maneuver.

I was up at 4:20 am, hit the gym at 5am and, while I didn't finish my leg workout in its entirety, I did the bulk of it.  My theory was that a) it's better than nothing and b) it was more important that the boys' morning ran smoothly than my entire leg routine be completed.  Besides, I forgot to eat my banana and I was hungry!

I arrived home about 6:05am and started the back to school breakfast -- pancakes and bacon (by request).  And, if you know me, you know that while I can cook bacon, although I won't eat it, I certainly don't want to smell like it (or anything else that I cook for that matter!)  So, first step -- get the bacon baking.  Yes, I bake my bacon.  Why?  Because there is SO much less mess to clean up, I don't get burned by hot grease splattering everywhere, I don't have to flip it, plus it stays flat and... well... it's just EASIER!

And then here is when the schedule juggling starts.... I hear Josh turn on the shower upstairs so I know he's awake.  It's 6:20.  I plop five pancakes onto the griddle and know that I need to be showered and "done up"  ready to bolt out the door at 7am.  He needed to be at school by 7:15.  I finish flipping his pancakes; put everything on the island.  It's time for a lightning fast shower.  Josh comes down and eats while I'm getting ready.  I talk about the morning plans to a half-asleep husband (mistake on my part).  We are out the door at 7am.

Tradition in this house is to take pictures of the first day of school in the front yard.  However, starting in 7th grade the kids go to school in their gym clothes.  So, while I took a picture, it's quite anti-climactic for me because he's in gym clothes!  Phooey on gym clothes.  Gym clothes are yuck.   7th Grade, Josh's 1st day of 7th Grade at FWC I tease him all the way there about how I'm going to walk him in and take pictures by his locker and with his friends just to embarrass him.  But, when I pull into the Middle School drive, we simply say our goodbyes and he's off.  No hugs even.  I hate when they grow too big for hugs.  Kids, hug your moms.

I drive back home.  Walk in.  Drew is almost ready.  I work out the logistics of the rest of the morning much to someone's chagrin.  I snap a few pics of my 2nd grade cutie and we, too, are off for school.  I leave the house at 7:30am.
First Day of School, Drew's 1st day of 2nd grade
We arrive at school and, as expected, it's madness!  Duh!  There is NO WHERE IN THE WORLD to park anywhere near the elementary.  We have to park over by the high school and walk (which means we're nearly late, not that it matters on the first day).  I used that time, however, to have a nice talk on the way there... made sure his morning started out well.  So, it was worth it in my opinion to park across the campus-- and since it's my blog and it's about me, I suppose I'm the only opinion that really matters here, right?  Of COURSE!!

We walk in and it's wall to wall parents mixed in with some little people in uniforms here and there.  (I must mention, his pictures, were cute because he was in uniform!)We walk to his class... greet his lovely teacher... take a picture of him with his best friend... grab a hug and wish him well.  I have never been one to linger.  You get in.  You do what you need to do and you get out.

Now, it's to the "welcome coffee" in the cafeteria -- not for coffee, however, but for paying on their lunch accounts.  You see, the school switched to a new provider for lunches.  As such, there are glitches to the system until they get it working properly.  Accepting credit card payments to fund the boys' lunch accounts was one of the glitches.  This welcome coffee was wall-to-wall parents.  Eating, drinking, talking, hugging, filling out forms and registrations, joining PTO, bible study groups... You  name it, every group at the school had a table there for parents to find out more information. Did I mention it was crowded?  And loud? And I'm trying to finesse my way by, through and between people to find the table where the lunch service provider was located.  Of course, if you know me and my luck, you know where it was.  Don'tcha?  Yup -- there it was -- in the back corner... but not only in the back corner... it had a line.  You know what, though... WHO CARES!  I didn't.  I was getting it taken care of.  I was surrounded by happy people... and food.  I should have eaten.  I'm hungry.

What was I talking about again?

OH, yeah, food.

While I was in line, I decided to pick up one of their menus.  But wait, they had not one, but two menus.  Apparently the Elementary School has one menu and the Middle and High School has another.  Interesting.

It seems that I was not the only parent who was a little concerned about the nutritional value in the previous service provider's meal plans for the school.  However, while they did routinely serve what kids typically eat (pizza, chicken nuggets and Chick Fil A), they didn't make up for the lack of nutrition on the "off" days from those special weekly meals.

So, as I stated, I snatched up a couple of menus and began my perusal, two things immediately stood out.  First, I noticed that pizza is nowhere to be found on the menu for the month of August.  Now, I'm not a food prude (completely) when it comes to my children.  I allow my boys, with their lightning fast metabolism, the opportunity to indulge (in crap) way more than I ever would, and while I consider most of what they WANT "crap," I wouldn't begrudge them an occasional slice of pizza for lunch.  Even cafeteria pizza (to kids) is better than NO pizza.  I will admit, I'm rather surprised.

The second thing I noticed is that they seem to have done away with the snack bar.  Oh the snack bar.  It's a rite of passage of sorts.  Burritos, burgers, chili cheese fries, salad, etc.  These were the items that graced the snack bar when I was in high school and many were there last year at the boys' school.  I see no mention of snack bar items anywhere.  I wonder what the backlash will be or if there will be a considerably higher number of children bringing their lunches to school.  Inquiring minds wonder.

However, once I start to read the menu -- it sounds really appetizing (except for today's entree for middle and high school... chicken and sausage jambalaya with rice -- BARF!)  I find it *almost* a little overzealous on their part to provide two separate sets of entrees for one school.  That seems like a considerable amount of planning, stress and potential waste.

Here is a sampling of the Elementary School's August cuisine selection

  • Baked pork chops with yellow rice and steamed broccoli
  • Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and gravy and turnip greens
  • Baked ziti, California blend veggies
  • Asian beef stir fry and fried rice, honey-orange glazed carrots
  • Beef tips with white rice and sugar snap peas
  • Chicken spaghetti with sauteed whole green beans, cabbage
  • Lasagna, steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, garlic bread
I will admit that I find their aspirations of introducing a healthier and more varied assortment of vegetation to the kids quite an admirable goal.  I just hope it pans out and that the children go into the cafeteria with the idea that trying new things isn't a bad thing.  Besides, picky eaters annoy me!

A sampling of the Middle/High School's August cuisine selection:
  • Baked fish, Parmesan penne pasta, steamed broccoli
  • Lemon-pepper chicken breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, okra or turnip greens 
  • Blackened fish, potatoes O'brien, baked mozzarella tomato
  • Rosemary chicken breast, sauteed mushrooms, roasted broccoli
  • Shrimp scampi, sugar snap peas, asparagus or roasted potatoes
I think I may have to go up there for lunch a couple of times a month... just to see if it's... palatable (but definitely not when they're serving turnip greens.)  

Drew came home with a revised school menu.  It seems that they do have a snack bar still.  Regardless of the crap they provide, I didn't think that was a wise choice to do away with it entirely.  I mean, what if some young 3rd, 4th or 5th grader (or visiting parent) simply doesn't want to eat turnip greens?  {{shudders}}

(pictures are forthcoming)

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