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like most of the country, we have officially gone back to school.  this year, the kids will continue in their co-op preschool that we all love, but they have moved up to the three day class.  after a few orientation sessions and easing in over the past week, today was the first day the whole class came together, and i got to LEAVE!  if any day were to be formally recognized, i felt like this was the one.  between my pragmatism and lack of sentimentality, we really have fewer records than many of our peers of milestones in our children’s lives.  we’ve never made a big fuss of birthdays or halloween, we don’t do santa, and until a few months ago, i figured my kids’ first day of school would be kindergarten, since they were totally uninterested in leaving the nest.  we have no baby books, no locks of hair, no pudgy stamped hand prints, very little artwork (because i throw everything away).  were it not for this blog, there might be very little record of their childhood, actually.IMG_7082

i think a part of this is my personality, and a part of this is the circumstances under which i had children.  my focus was necessarily more on survival than enjoying and relishing “the moment” for the first few years.  but kids do get older, even my kids, and they do get easier, even my kids, and they do actually become enjoyable company.  now we’re a pretty fierce and inseparable threesome.  so, i’m definitely more in a frame of mind these days to acknowledge important occasions, like the first day of school.  i made a goofy little sign and everything, that ended up being basically illegible.  but the sentiment is on point.

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during our recent trip to santa cruz, the kids made their first trip to harts fabric.  they spent most of the outing sprawled on the floor coloring, but toward the end, i invited them to choose some fabrics for back to school outfits.  right in front, the new cotton and steel line was on display, including sarah watts august, which i’ve been eyeing ravenously.  anyone would get overwhelmed in harts…i gently guided them toward that specific collection and let them pick from within.  they were very insistent on their choices–eli is wearing frolic in citron, and reese is wearing monarch in aqua.  both items are 100% kid approved, which is why i have essentially no photos of them on the hanger.

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the garments themselves are fairly simple to showcase the cool prints the kids chose.  anytime i post a flutter sleeve dress like the one here, people are interested in the pattern.  i actually drafted this for my shop last year, but similar results could be achieved with this pattern, if you leave the elastic out of the sleeve hems.  reese’s lion hoodie is from happy homemade, which is mercifully now available in english.  still, if you’ve never used japanese patterns, a little guidance never hurts.  cherie and meg have a fantastic sew along with step by step tutorials to construct the hoodie, which made it a total breeze.

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i actually have used japanese patterns before, and i was following a sew along, yet i *still* managed to forget to add the seam allowances.  i had opted to cut a size 4 for reese, who still comofrtably wears 18 month sized clothing, because better too big than too small, right?  i should have just left the seam allowances off, but i added them in as i was cutting in one of those series of events where your brain just isn’t working efficiently.  so now he has a hoodie that will fit him through his first day of high school.  i left out the tie in the bottom hem and added a spacious kangaroo pocket (to both).  the complimentary fabrics on both garments is coordinating linen i had on hand.

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this threesome has had a pretty excellent summer.  we’ve done more than our share of exploring, pitching a tent from mendocino to santa cruz to marin to tahoe, devouring chapter books, climbing trees and mountains, planting and tending the garden, harvesting and cooking, venturing to new, faraway parks.  we have endured many bumps, bruises and scrapes, a million mosquito bites, a raging case of poison oak, stitches to the head, and one bead lodged in a nostril.  we did summer right this year, and we had a blast.
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but i have always have loved the fall, i think because i got hardwired as a child to associate it with new beginnings.  i always loved going to school, and being able to start fresh at a time where nature becomes its most beautiful has left me pining for autumn well into my adulthood, even now that i live somewhere without such a clear climate shift.  i loved watching my kids run into the schoolyard today to greet their old friends, all a little taller, a little tanner, a little less anxious to leave their parents.  they are all getting older and more independent–it’s almost impossible to believe that at this time next year, we’ll be sending eli to kindergarten.  so today, they get a special outfit.  they get a sign that they hated holding as they squinted at me into the sun, desperate to free themselves of their boring mom so they could join their friends again.  and i have the pictures so that for once, we will always remember.

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4 Comments on back to school

  1. I so loved your heartfelt writing in this post! Perhaps you are not sentimental by nature, but the love you have for your kids shines through clearly in your writing! What a wonderful, fun-filled summer you had – yay you for making it happen. I laughed out loud at the comment about Reese wearing his hoodie till highschool:) Better too big than too small, is my mantra. And when fabrics are kid-approved, the outfit is bound to be loved. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on their first day of school and your relationship with them – it was such a enjoyable read!

    • oh lucinda, bloggers are so fortunate to have such a thoughtful reader like you. while we all indulge in this fairly narcissistic practice, you just read away and offer your sincere and kind words like the dearest friend. thank you for being such a lovely part of blogging for me and so many others. hope you and your family also had a wonderful summer!

  2. Love this post! I distinctly remember handing my mum treasures I’d found on the beach, she’d take them with one hand, admire them, then drop them with the other. And now I do exactly the same!
    Yours sounds like a perfect summer. if you don’t get a bead stuck up your nose you’re not having enough fun, hey?!
    P.S. Almost didn’t mention the sewing. oops. Love it!

    • ha! i need to start dropping treasures, too. we have a growing pile of rocks/sticks/feathers/pinecones on our porch, and when we go to the beach we sometimes accidentally bring home living treasures that then go through the wash. we did have a wonderful summer–hope your family did as well!

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