The transition from summer to fall, carefree hours to school days, swimming pool to classroom, later bedtimes to homework before bed... has not been entirely seamless. In Jaden's words, "1st grade is harder." We're kind of navigating through new territory as parents with increased homework and pressure on our oldest. Most of that is pressure Jaden puts on himself. He is his own worst critic, very unhappy with himself if his day didn't go perfectly or he had trouble tying his shoe that one time or he didn't make that defensive stop during flag football practice. It's a struggle right now... learning how to help him balance out his emotions. Teaching him to brush things off, pick himself up, do better tomorrow. Being sensitive and supportive and letting him get his frustrations out. But teaching him not to dwell in that place. Reminding him over and over again that attitude is everything and a good one will get you a lot farther than a bad one. But also knowing that he is human and that he is entitled to be in a bad mood and have a bad day once in a while, just as we are. He's still a happy boy with a crazy zest for life. He just misses his summer and the pool. ;)
And then there's Brandon, who goes to preschool most afternoons now, missing out on nap/rest time and forcing earlier bedtimes a couple nights a week. He enjoys preschool but actually is grateful for days he doesn't have it, appreciating the quiet time he's then allowed in his daycare classroom with his blankie and a few books to keep him quiet and help him feel rested.
All that being said, we're in a good place. We've welcomed September with arms wide open, doing our best to balance the busy and the quiet...
...with Friday night soccer games. And the most beautiful night sky.
...with lots of burgers on the deck (the one thing Brandon is guaranteed to eat every time), catch in the driveway and earlier sunsets during bath time.
...with the return of college football season. A day spent in Iowa City cheering for the Panthers and a short but sweet reunion with lifelong family friends at their home after the game.
...with Fall decorating. My favorite kind.
...with a Sunday afternoon spent with the "big boys." Cody is helping his boss finish his new fire pit and patio area and this labor day weekend we went out to watch them do work. Jaden ended up spending the entire day there, feeling like big stuff when Greg asked him to ride with him to Farm and Fleet in the work truck and when Greg's son, the senior starting quarterback for Hudson HS, wanted to play catch with him in the fields. And Brandon had some fun of his own, too...
...with the first of Fall baking. The most delicious chocolate chip pumpkin cookies ever and what I know will be a new autumn staple around here. And a little boy... all too eager to help.
((proudly showing off his pottery he painted for me at Pursuing Picasso))
...with fresh mums and hay bales on the deck.
...with the first season of flag football. With Jaden being picked quarterback for the first upcoming game and a Daddy who was asked to help coach half way through the first practice. As parents who love football and a girl who has been raised in the sport, there's something so surreal about watching your own kid go out and learn set plays, take his first snaps and lead his first team huddle. Even if it is just flag football for right now... it's kind of like of a dream come true. (And I'm so grateful that there's no tackling yet!)
...and with a little brother more than happy to do cartwheels from the sidelines.
Looking forward to a first football game this weekend, a little Artapalooza, some fall-like temperatures and more.