That being said, there is a huge advantage to the school year--a schedule. We are very free-form in the summer. Meg and Anne stay up too late and sleep in late. Clare falls asleep at her normal time (though usually on the couch because she's trying to stay up later) and wakes up at 7 a.m. Breakfast seems to be an all-morning affair with everyone eating as they wake up and then requiring second breakfast, as if they were hobbits. Lunch varies based upon when everyone ate breakfast. Dinner is determined by whether the neighborhood children are playing outside. This free-form existence is nice for awhile, but it cannot be sustained. A few weeks ago, as school was approaching, Clare said, "It will be nice to have a schedule again."
We began focusing on the schedule the night before school began. At 8 p.m. all the girls gathered in my room and we read the first two chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Okay, Anne actually sat in the library off the bedroom and watched Doc McStuffins on the Kindle. But she still felt a part of the group. After our bedtime reading, the girls headed off to bed.
Our first morning of school, everything went according to plan. Meg and Clare woke up at 6:50 a.m. Everyone got dressed, ate breakfast and we were out the door by 7:45 a.m. That will likely be the only time this year our morning goes so smoothly. (One exception is Field Day--the girls will be ready to leave by 7:30 a.m. on Field Day).
The girls only had a half day of school on the first day. As is almost an annual tradition, we met our friend Nicole for a celebratory lunch. We went to IHOP for some festive pancakes and eggs. After some down time at home, we walked to Fort Ward park. The girls performed at the amphitheater, checked out the cannons and the recreated Civil War fort and then headed to the playground. Everyone thoroughly exhausted themselves...and then we had to walk a half mile home. (For the record, I pulled Clare and Anne in the wagon. Clare is still recovering from her surgery, so we had to limit her activity a little bit.)
At home, I made a solid family dinner and required everyone to come to the dining room at the same time. We ate roasted chicken, black-eyed peas, steamed green beans and corn bread. We had cake bars for our celebratory dessert. I found these at the Safeway bakery. I didn't want to buy or make a whole cake because my husband's birthday is this week. Two cakes in one week seemed over the top. The cake bars allowed everyone to have a little taste of cake without going overboard.
After dinner, it was time for baths and bedtime reading, so we can do it all again tomorrow. It is nice to have a schedule again.