A Debriefing of the First Week of School//Some Quick Lunch Ideas

I need to debrief a little, because this was our first week back to school, and there was no slow gentle entrance to it all. Monday morning came and we’ve been going at a whirlwind’s pace ever since.

First of all, Amaleah is now in junior high. This just can’t be, has it really been that long since I pushed that girl out of my body? So, this just means that we are discussing things like which emoticons are appropriate to use with your friends while texting, how messy is too messy for a messy bun (yep, there’s an exactness about messiness, it has to look just right), and why in the world did some kid show up to school in a limousine on the first day? Not to mention that she has a PowerPoint presentation due on Friday and has needed to use my computer way more than I’m comfortable with this week (but surely it’s not time for her to have her own, I mean we just went through a whole summer trying to figure out if she should have a phone or not and I don’t think I can handle any more major life changes than that right now.)

notice the glow of Amaleah’s phone against her shirt. still working on boundaries here…

But because of this whole new junior high thing, now I have two kids at two different schools (and technically three for three starting next week when Landis starts preschool again). What this means is that we have to leave 10 minutes earlier so as to swing by the elementary school and drop off Julia, then forge our way through school zones to get to the junior high, where no one cares where you drop your kid off they just need to be in their class by 8:15 sharp…and then do this all over again in the afternoon except it takes an hour because she gets out of school 30 minutes after Julia does, which means a really long time in the car with my other two children who either are fighting or climbing all over the car like hooligans.  All this leads to starting our afternoons one hour later, with kids wondering why dinner isn’t on the table earlier (why must we always explain things!) and then shuffling kids around to various and a-sundry activities. I feel a little panicky right now just thinking about it. Next week we add L’s school, which should be exciting.

And to get back to Julia, she’s in 3rd grade now and I can hardly believe that either–she graduated from a backpack to a messenger bag and is entering the phase of sport shorts and T-shirts. And she has two teachers this year which makes her seem all that much bigger switching classes and all, and has a poster board project due on Friday. There aint no easing into things around here, they mean business. And she’s not the new kid this year…she has already reached out to a new girl and made friends with her, and I couldn’t be more pleased with her for that.

So while we are adjusting to the rigor of the school year, and dreaming back to the days where we could sleep in and head to the pool whenever we wanted, the plus side of all this is special time with my boy. He randomly told me yesterday that he’s so glad to be home with me and have special time with me…melt a mother’s heart right there. And, I up and decided to open the phonics book again with him and he’s reading! Seriously, this boy was obviously ready because I barely even had to explain how letters go together to form words, he just started sounding things out and voila that kid is reading!

I’m sure most of your lives have been the same too, and it’s at these times I find myself remembering that there are seasons for everything, and it’s okay to be busy, as long as our business is well chosen and we are making time for moments together. I sometimes wish I could just have my kids home with me all the time, but then that would be homeschooling, and at this point that’s not for me, and that doesn’t fix everything anyway. I find my soul and heart are more at rest these days when my job is nurturing, providing for, hauling, snuggling, helping with homework and doing behind the scenes things, even if our activity makes us feel busier. I remember the days of homeschooling and seriously my spirit seemed to be in so much more turmoil with handling all the things at home while balancing educating my kids and attempting to inspire them to love learning, all while dealing with attitudes and the like. For me, summertime is now the time I use to embrace being with my kids all the time and to soak it up, enjoying just focusing on them and including them in the everyday life.

Ah, but I ramble. All this to say, we are tired this week but hopeful for the settling in of a routine, and enjoying the difference in seasons and what that brings. I’m remembering from the book A Praying Life that it’s okay to be busy, but it’s not okay to have a busy mind.

So here’s to all of you, in whatever stage you are in, as you merge into this new season and settle into what’s best for your family.

And for your enjoyment, here’s a list I came up with last year of things to add to your kids lunches. I keep mine on the refrigerator for when I’m wandering around the kitchen with no clue what to send. Click here for the full post from last August.

Main Items Fruits Veggies/ Side Items
taco meat melons frozen peas (will thaw)
shredded chicken blueberries carrot sticks/ baby carrots/ carrot coins
chili/ taco soup strawberries broccoli florets (raw or steamed)
beans grapes cucumbers (rounds or sticks)
chicken salad clementines (easy peel) olives (pitted, any variety)
diced thick cut ham diced kiwi steamed snow peas
cubed chicken meat petite apples, whole plain pasta
meatballs mangoes (diced) rice (mexican, brown, stir-fried)
turkey burgers pre-pkgd apple sauce nuts (if allowed)- cashews, pistachios, walnuts
fajita meat diced dried fruit grape tomatoes
soup (canned, leftover) red, yellow, bell peppers
dinner leftovers diced sharp cheddar
chicken nuggets, cold cheese sticks/ string cheese
pigs in a blanket pre-pkgd cheese rounds
pizza rolls
mini quiche
macaroni and cheese
pepperoni slices
Snacky Side Fun Item Dips
tortilla chips semi-sweet choc.chips ranch dressing (made with yogurt, opt)
goldfish/ cheeze its dark chocolate  marinara sauce
saltines/ ritz crackers choc. covered pretzel ketchup
whole wheat crackers yogurt cup chic fil-a sauce
pita chips drinkable yogurt hummus
tortillas, cut in strips one hershey’s kiss white bean dip 
pretzels yogurt cov. pretzel yogurt fruit dip
Lara bars/ cliff bars fruit chews homemade pimento cheese
granola bar fruit leather peanut, almond butters
meat stick/ beef jerky mini muffins 
whole grain bread

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