Tag Archives: first day of school

Granola Mama


Summer came and went and it is the start of the new school year. Lots has changed with the Ristows which means I am overdue for a post. Very overdue. The summer started with getting knocked up. Okay, kidding, I only used that term for shock value, but yes I am preggo. I don’t really enjoy pregnancy. Every night my body wants to rid itself of everything I put in it, my kids enjoy watching me throw up, I am not exactly the “cute belly” type of pregnant person, AND I hate having to wake up a million times to pee in the night. But with that said, I feel blessed to be able to experience growing a life inside of me. My heart aches for those who desperately desire to be pregnant, really it does, and so while I recognize my discomfort as very real and very challenging, I also recognize the pain that my friends feel after each month that passes without being pregnant, each miscarriage, and each failed IVF treatment. Praying for these friends is a recurring theme in my journal. Truthfully.
After becoming “with child”, we went on lots of holidays in the month of July. Fun times until the nausea kicked in.
Of course, it kicked in before we went on our 10 year anniversary get away to Belize. Super unfortunate. I tried to make the best of it, but I was pretty darn miserable. I wanted to be in the comfort of my home, and the humidity of Belize was definitely not the best weather for my already nauseous self. We did get to swim with sharks which was cool, but what you don’t see in the picture is me ripping off my mask because the up and down of the little waves are making me want to barf.
Now we are home and today was the first day of school and tomorrow I am twelve weeks, and so I am hoping that soon we will be getting in a groove and I will be feeling good. That is my hope!
But wait, there is more. This year we have decided to homeschool! We thought we were going to last year, but then we decided last minute to send Miss Piper Lee off to the neighborhood school for kinder and I would get to have a special year with little sister. I loved Piper’s teacher, and I loved her school. I am not anti school, nor am I anti public school. I am a former teacher, now stay-at-home-mom. I loved my job and I love my kids, so now I get the opportunity to teach the kids who are most near and dear to my heart! I don’t know for how long, but for now. Brian said this about school, “I have no problem with school except for how long it is.” I agree (at least for elementary). You don’t have to agree, it’s okay, but I feel that so much can be done in such a short amount of time. If every day was a minimum day, I bet every teacher could get the material covered that they needed to. You would cut out the busy work and get to business. There would be fewer recesses, and instead the kids would just go home! I want to do meaningful work with her and I want to be a part of it. I want us to learn things together, as a family. I want her to continue in the things she loves, like swimming and gymnastics, and since I see her for hours during the day, I am okay with taking her to practice some afternoons. This is what is right, for us, for now. (Ask me in April when I have a newborn, I will tell you if that is still the case.)

I found my old school uniform in Belize of all places and just had to buy it!  And she just had to wear it today.

I found my old school uniform in Belize of all places and just had to buy it! And she just had to wear it today.

And while I am on a roll, I might as well tell you something else. This pregnant lady is planning on having her baby at home. Can you believe it? Seriously, don’t judge. Call me a granola mama, or a hippy or maybe you are thinking more along the lines of Amish. Let me just say this. We have our opinions about home schooling, we have our opinions about politics, and religion, and medicine, and they are all opinions that each one of us feels we are right, pretty much, right? So here’s how it goes for me. I’ve had a hospital birth, and I’ve had a parking lot birth, I just figured I would throw another experience into the mix! Why not? I am not making this decision uninformed, but have read up, and “watched” up, and feel that as long as things go smoothly throughout my pregnancy, I would much rather be home and prepared to deliver than in my car on the way to the hospital, or outside of the hospital in the parking lot like I was last time. Plus, I’m a natural kind of girl. I don’t know why. I wish I wasn’t sometimes, because I know what I am signing up for. I have had an epidural and I know what bliss it brings. I know that last time I was planning on going natural and still on the way to the hospital I said, “I’m going to ask for an epidural as soon as I get to the hospital!” (Not knowing that I was 5 minutes away from holding my baby.) If you are interested in the idea, or just curious as to why anyone would do such a thing, then you should watch the documentary The Business of Being Born. It’s pretty good, really! It’s amazing how people change. I never thought I’d be the homeschooling mama, who is planning a home birth and makes her own deodorant. Seriously, anyone who knew me 10 years ago would not guess that this would be my life. So, I’m just sayin’ if this life scares you, don’t start making your own deodorant, because the next thing you know you’re going to be in the tub delivering a baby while giving your daughter a spelling test. I’m just sayin’!


First and last


Well, we made it.  I made it through the first day of school, and Piper did too, by the way.  She walked in a bit uncertain, just as I remember doing so; not the crier, and not the super outgoing, overly excited kid either.  On a scale of 1-10 it was “great”.  That’s what she said.  I guess the concept of a scale is unfamiliar to her.  After all of the positive things she had to say, I said, “well, then are you glad you went to school or do you still wish I homeschooled you?”  Now I realize this could be a premature question, but she had nothing but good things to say…up to this point.  “Homeschool.  Yeah, definitely.”  And then she proceeded in her exaggerated tone “we had to always sit criss-cross applesauce.  And then I was like, ugh!  My knees were stuck together when I tried to get up.  They were so sweaty in between and sticky.  And then we had to play a game at lunch and it was not fun.  And they wouldn’t let us eat.  They had to talk and talk and talk before we could eat.”  She cracks me up sometimes.   I think today the teacher was probably working on rules and routine and will be for the next couple of days, but Piper just interpreted it as bor-ing.  She is, however, excited to go back tomorrow.

This is probably picture #8 that Brian took because the lighting wasn’t good. You can tell that it was becoming difficult to keep the smile.

In Germany, when you start school there is a tradition where kids get a schuletüte (school bag) filled with goodies, kind of like a stocking, but it is cone-shaped.  So yesterday I made some for the two boys on our street that I heard were starting kindergarten, but I don’t know these families.  I thought it would be a good way to meet them.  Today, as we were walking, we realized there are 6 kindergarteners on our street!  Crazy!  We made a schuletüte for Piper as well.  Brian is a big Dodgers fan and Piper calls every hat she wears a Dodger hat.  Even her wide-brimmed orange sun hat.  And so Brian really wanted to put a Dodger hat in her cone.  I got her a “big kid” water bottle to take to school and some other goodies, as well as the book I made her with pictures of her school and our letters to her.  She had so much fun opening it up!  And Tatum didn’t even seem to mind that she didn’t get one!

To celebrate a successful first day of school for Miss Piper Lee and Mr. Ristow, we went out for sushi with Piper and her daddy sporting their Dodger hats.  She goes by Piper Lee now, kind of funny, but since there are two Pipers, she chose that over Piper R.  I don’t blame her.


So, how did we celebrate our last days of summer?  Well, for one we moved the bathtub outside.

And Brian and I snuck away for a night on the town.  The Fig restaurant at the Fairmont in Santa Monica.  Go there.  The food was amazing and if you know me, then you know I am all about bargains.  They have an amazing happy hour from 5-6, they call it Fig at Five and their entire menu is half off!  Need more details?  Just ask.

Goodbye summer, hello school!