A Week of Lunches (for a Picky Eater)

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I’ve been sharing Libbie’s lunches this week on my Facebook page. I love getting inspiration for lunches, as I want my kids to enjoy a variety of foods. With Libbie being a fairly “selective” eater (ahem), it can be a little bit of a struggle. And it feels like most of the lunches I see on Facebook or Pinterest either involve lots of foods she wouldn’t eat or things that would take me two hours to assemble. Which is cool, if that’s your thing! But it’s not mine.

So in hope of giving you inspiration, here are Libbie’s lunches from this past week, with recipe links. For those of you who have also seen these on Facebook – would you rather see them in a weekly digest like this or with the daily pictures or both? I’ve enjoyed conversing this week on FB about lunch foods and freezing tips!

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Monday : Maple Roasted Turkey, cheese cubes, apple slices, half a banana, pretzels, no-food-dye candy pieces from EarthFare. I toss the apples in water with a little lemon juice so they don’t brown.

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Tuesday: Ham and cheese sandwich on homemade wheat bread, more Maple Turkey, tortilla strips, golden melon balls, grapes, and a few mini marshmallows.

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Wednesday: Cheese stick, whole wheat strawberry-cinnamon baked doughnut, raisins, apple slices, pepperoni muffins (my kids do not like this … now I know), and a slice of the turkey.

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Bonus: this was David’s lunch on Wednesday. He is my less-picky eater. He had a cheese stick, a sliced peach, and Banana Bread Pancakes. He does eat a snack before lunch at school, so he’s not as hungry at lunchtime.

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Thursday: Ham, cheese, and Italian bread “kebabs”; fruit and cereal bar; trail mix made from raisins, craisins, peanuts, and chocolate pieces; Spinach Cake Muffins; grapes.

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Friday: Homemade spaghetti-o-penne with cut-up hot dog, the same Spinach Cake Muffins she didn’t eat yesterday, banana, raisins. The spaghetti-o’s recipe I use is from the Once a Month meals Survive Before 5 e-book. It’s similar to this one, but different enough that I keep going back to the original in the e-book.

So are you a lunch-packer? Does your kid buy? Do you send the same thing every day or try to mix it up a bit?

Kindergarten: One Month In

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first day of kindergarten

Libbie’s first day of kindergarten was August 12th, and as of August 14 she was a full-time student. Wow, has it been so much more confusing and strange than I thought it would be, honestly. I was sure Libbie would love school, and it would be an easy transition. She does like school, but wow. My expectations were wildly out-of-whack.

Libbie has had epic meltdowns, the worst tantrums she’s ever had at almost 6 years old, and spends her time at home either loving David (3) to pieces or trying to rile him up in any way she can. This is not limited to hitting, kicking, outright lying, screaming, saying, “That didn’t hurt! Don’t tell Mommy!” and other methods of manipulation. The worst was the two weeks before she started and the first week or two of school, but it still surprises me what may bring out a temper tantrum. We are trying to stay calm … without letting her murder her brother.

She is INCREDIBLY tired by the end of the day. I figured she would be, and I imagine this also helps the tantrums and whining. Libbie still took a nap half the time until two or three months ago. We tried to break her of napping this summer, but it was hard. She was still used to having some afternoon quiet time, at least, to recoup. Even though I consider Libbie an extrovert, she recognizes that sometimes alone time helps her to center herself and release some of her strong emotions.

Unfortunately, given that her school is a lottery-type public school drawing from all over the county, it lets out later than normal elementary schools. We often don’t get home until after 4:30, and she goes to bed around 7:30. In that time, we have to address playtime, homework, dinner, bath, reading, and our nightly routine of family worship, brushing teeth, and tucking in. It’s a lot to cram in a few hours and really does not allow her downtime during the week when she’s not asleep. It makes me sad.

Smiling Libbie

Which bring me to, I definitely had the ARE WE DOING THE RIGHT THING crisis about 2 weeks in. I really hate that Lib is not home more. I hate that we have so little time with her during the week. We were absolutely convinced public school was the right choice for our family; as I have said many a time, I am pretty sure Libbie and I would kill each other if we homeschooled her. I love the structure of a local, Christian, small private school – but we live on a teacher’s salary and will have three children in elementary school. It is just not going to happen. I found myself chatting with JessieLeigh one night, unable to sleep with my stomach twisting and churning and my mind wondering what we could do.  (JL is extremely wise, has kids in public school, and her children are just a couple years older than mine.) She talked me off the cliff and helped me understand that there is no perfect choice, but you have to do what works for your family.

There is definitely an adjustment period with this schooling thing. I did expect that, but I keep forgetting it.

I feel totally lost. This isn’t preschool, where everything was laid out for me in a row, and I got a gold star for completing each task. (OK, not really. But you know what I mean.) In preschool, I walked Libbie in each morning and talked to her teacher directly if I had any issues. In kindergarten, I drop her in front of the school each morning and get her off the bus in the afternoons.

I have to do volunteer hours because it’s a lottery school, but I can’t figure out when or how to do them considering Joshua is with me all the time. I don’t know how to help Libbie do her “neighborhood” project when we live on a school campus. I don’t know when they are doing special things unless I have to pay for them!

It’s not preschool. It’s hard. I hate not feeling like I have all my ducks in a row.

So, that’s where we are, Lost Jessie the First-time Kindergarten Mom. Someone tell me it gets easier. Please?

The Kindergarten Tears

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Bus.
source: cinderellasg

So this is what it took to melt my frozen heart.

I still hadn’t boo-hooed about Libbie going to kindergarten as of yesterday morning. So far, so good. She loves being busy all day, although she is both exhausted and needs to run around like a crazy person when she gets home. Even in this exhaustion, she wasn’t falling asleep in the van on the way home.

I decided yesterday morning that I would let her ride the bus in the afternoons. For a variety of factors, this really works best for our family. Her school, although public, is a lottery/specialized type school, and it is a 20-minute drive in no traffic – and at that time of day, there is almost always traffic on the interstate I have to drive to get there. Joshua is often napping around the time we needed to leave. It seemed silly to drive all the way there (which some days was taking 45 minutes because of traffic), sit in the car ride line for another 20 minutes or more, and have to use the gas, wake up the baby from his nap, etc, just to avoid putting Libbie on a big scary school bus.

So yesterday morning I talked to her teacher and we worked it out. The bus was set to arrive at the stop at 4:45, according to the schedule.

All day I felt on the brink of tears as I thought about my baby girl getting on the bus. Why? Why is it such a big deal now? There were days when everyone rode the bus; and if they didn’t, they walked to school, probably sans parents. Mostly I felt torn at the decision: was I being selfish? Were my reasons valid?

So around 4:15 I got in my car, planning to go pick up a prescription before I headed to the bus stop. And at 4:20, before I even got off campus, her bus driver called me. They were there, he said. He couldn’t let a kindergartner off unless I was there. So where was I?

Um, the schedule said 4:45. But he said no one had shown up for the stop prior to Libbie’s, so they had come straight from the school. And I wasn’t there to get my baby on the first day she rode the bus.

Yep, that is when the bawling happened.

It feels like there are so many things I am supposed to know without being told. As a major firstborn rule-follower, this has been hard for me! Like my daughter, I want things outlined for me in pen, so I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing and can do it the right way. For both of us … this may not always happen. We both might feel a little bit lost for awhile.

I’m just hoping we can make it through the learning curve without some major meltdowns.

This Is How We Do It

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As you may know from my self-confessed blog crush, Modern Mrs. Darcy is pretty much my favorite blog. I comment there so much that I sometimes worry Anne will think I am stalking her. (But really, do you know any bloggers who LOATHE comments? Hint: NO.)

I am so honored today to be guest-posting at MMD about “how I do it” – as a work-at-home mom to three little ones, writing for magazines and managing my own blog as well as a brand’s, and just generally attempting to stay sane.

And if you’re visiting from Anne’s blog, welcome. You might enjoy some of these posts that characterize what I do here at JessieWeaver.net – parenting, faith, recipes, books, and confessing my awful housekeeping skills.

  • 25 Jesus-Centered Christmas Books to Celebrate Advent is by far my most-pinned post, and one I think is really helpful! I know we don’t want to start thinking about Christmas yet, but …
  • I’m slowly working on telling The Big Story, about God working in our lives and marriage through foreclosure and completely unexpected circumstances.
  • My son Joshua may have been a surprise, but he was no accident!
  • Nine Minutes is pretty typical of my inability to get a grip on keeping a clean home.

And to my regular readers, I hope you’ll hop over and read what I had to say.

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Also, I think I got the most Facebook comments I’ve ever received when I confessed I haven’t cried yet about Libbie starting kindergarten. I wrote a little more about it on ParentLife this weekend, if you are interested. Here’s “More Ways to Feel Guilty: Not Crying about Kindergarten.” Plus you can see Libbie’s adorable first-day-of-school picture.

My Baby Birdy Is Getting Her Wings

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My oldest baby starts kindergarten tomorrow.

At some times we’ve been sure it would never come, and at others feared the same. Libbie’s been ready – at least in her mind – to go to kindergarten since she was about 2. She would ask, “When can I go to eleventure school?” She had to be 5 AND it had to be August, we told her, feeling like it was miles and miles away down the road.

And now we’re at that crossroads.

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I fold her clothes tonight and wonder if she will still want to wear Elsa and Anna shirts. Will she still be obsessed with pink and love jeggings? Or will she be brainwashed into Justice and want to wear high heels? How will her thoughts and ways change, influenced by other little girls and boys and teachers for so many hours a week?

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If you know me or have read this blog basically at all, you know that my relationship with Libbie can be difficult. She is strong-willed to the core, fighting any instructions and reframing them to make them her idea. If she ever just said “yes” to something I told her to do I might pass out from surprise. She still has tantrums that put a 2-year-old to shame.

But then she is sugar-sweet and cuddly and loves to read, always has. She adores making art, singing, and dancing. She loves her brothers, sometimes a little too hard. She is often in her own little imaginary world, talking and singing to herself, not unlike another little girl I once knew, 27 or so years ago.

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She is tender-hearted and very sensitive, probably an HSP. She frightens easily, hates cats and most dogs, and is sometimes shy.

I afraid she will change. Without me knowing it. She’s never gone to school, been away from me, more than 15 hours a week since we moved to Chattanooga when she was 14 months. What will it be like? She is ready. I am ready. But we’re both teetering on the edge, unsure how to proceed.

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All I can do is pray that we have and will continue to raise her to find her strength in Jesus, knowing that we love and support her in all she does. I pray now, as I did when she was only 6 months old, that she will know the breadth and depth and height and width of God’s love and be filled with His fullness.

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I love this girl and I’m afraid I’ve messed everything up being too strict, not firm enough, too depressed, too crazy, too … something. Will she feel firmly her place in our family, in our love, and strive? Will she struggle to make friends, not to withdraw, to have confidence, like that other little girl I once knew?

I know it will be happy, and it will be good. And in every happy moment of growth, we feel grief in the growing. I am delighted. I am scared. I am grieving my preschooler.

We love you, Libbie. Go rock out at kindergarten. Be yourself and be His.

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Motherly Dichotomies

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I’ve spent some of tonight scrolling through some of my 2009 blog posts – when Libbie was my only child, just a baby, and I was a full-time working mom (and for a fall, a single mom while Mr. V was teaching in Chattanooga). It’s funny to me now how HARD I thought it was to have one baby who was in daycare. But when you’re there … it is hard. 

I can see Joshua, my third, pushing out of the baby stage now. And it’s hard! Still!

Thought you might enjoy this “rerun” from September 2009.

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For some reason I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that Libbie’s outgrown her 9-month clothes–and she’s 10 1/2 months!

I guess it’s the perpetual motherhood thing. Every time she gets bigger or does something new, it’s exciting. But it hurts a little. It will never be her first laugh, first smile, first solids ever again.

Perhaps this sudden realization on top of the fact that we’re now really weaned (as of yesterday) has just been too much.

I’m sure you understand if you have kids. You want them to grow, of course! But you miss the sweetness of days past. The tiny baby who would sleep on your chest for hours, solely nourished herself on your milk, and you weren’t worry would start climbing your bookcase the moment you turned your back.

I try to pull her to me and she pushes away. Too curious, too anxious to move on to the next thing. She pulls up on the coffee table, little cloth-diapered booty shaking up and down as she tries to steady herself. She loves to dance.

Before my eyes, she is more and more of a little girl and less of a baby. Soon she’ll be eating more real foods, walking, and talking. And then we’ll have new things to look forward to: her first “I love you, Mommy.” First steps. First birthday.

All I can do is love the now. Every moment. I didn’t want to put her to bed tonight even though she was SO tired. She was actually cuddling and giggling as we played our favorite “Ooh! Mommy stole your paci!” game and she got raspberries on her tummy. Those tired eyes peered at me with love, enjoyment at just playing with her mommy. On her lap, a safe place.

The now, it is good. No matter what size clothes she wears.

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