Tag Archives: mariners elementary

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!



Back to School Blues


In two more days I am going to be experiencing what many parents have already experienced.  I am going to have my first “school night”.  Piper is going to have to get to bed early because it’s a “school night”.  I have already been a big blubbering mess about this whole thing and won’t go into too much detail otherwise the tears will just start flowing again.  We got to visit her school yesterday and were able to meet the teacher.  We only were informed about this on Wednesday.  I was feeling a little uneasy not knowing all the logistics, so it eased all of our nerves to walk around the school and get to see the classroom and meet the teacher.  She rode around the playground on a tricycle and when we got home she said, “Ugh, I do not like those tricycles.  The are cheap and they just tip so easy!  I mean I don’t know if they really are cheap but they seem like it.”  Funny kid.  While we toured the grounds, we took some pictures and then I came home and made her this little book of what to expect as a kindergartener.  Years ago, I was a bit critical of homeschooling.  Maybe it was because I was a public school teacher, but now as a mother, my mind changed.  I have friends who homeschool, it seems like you can take the classroom on adventures where ever you go, and also, how cool would it be to teach kids who you think are so great!  I have taught some great kids, but I have also taught some not-so-great kids.  I dream about teaching again, but in my dreams my classroom would be much smaller, like my own children.  And then we decided on sending Piper to school.  We have a peace about it and nothing is forever.  We said we’ll give it a try.  We are not “stuck” with our decision on way or another.  I usually have a bad case of the blues in September, but this September is especially challenging with Brian and Piper going off to school.  I wanted to write her a letter and when I told Brian that I thought before she starts school seemed like a good time to do so, he wanted to partake as well.  So, I apologize for the letters I have enclosed.  They make me cry and possibly will make you cry too.  So don’t read on if you don’t want to.  Also, perhaps you will see us as “newbies”.  If you have older kids, you might think we are weird and that we should be celebrating the fact that I can get rid of her 5 hours a day.  Well, I’m not there.  Perhaps it’s because she entertains my crazy 2 year old and now that is going to be left only up to me.  She also translates for me sometimes too when I seem to be struggling with understanding toddler-talk.  Anyway, here it is.  Oh, notice the girls got hair cuts, cute huh?  Okay, sorry, here are our letters.

Dear Miss Piper Lee

Tuesday will be your first day of kindergarten.  It is hard to believe that the time has come already for you to start school.  It doesn’t seem like very long ago that we found out there was a baby in my tummy.  Wow!  That was a big surprise!  And now you are 5 ½ and ready for a new adventure.  You have such an adventurous spirit that I know you will look at kindergarten as just another adventure on your journey through life.

I want to tell you a few things that are so important for you to know that I wanted you to have it in writing in case you ever need to look back and be reminded. 

First of all, you are beautiful.  You are my child and you are made in the image of God.  You are beautiful on the outside of course, but on the inside too.  I love watching you play with Tatum and showing grace with her when she knocks down your Legos.  I love when you make me pictures and write i love u on them.  I love your ability to memorize Bible verses.  I love your excitement when we go on our family adventures.  These things show me how beautiful you are on the inside and I want you to always know that. 

 Secondly, I want you to know you are loved.  You are loved by me more than you could ever know, Daddy, and it is obvious how much Tatum adores you.  But most importantly, you are loved by God.  You are going off to school and though you won’t be around me, Daddy or Tatum, you know that you are never alone.  And the one who loves you the most, the one who placed you in my tummy is always with you.  Never forget that.

You are getting bigger and I love it!  I really do!  I love reading chapter books with you and look forward to when you will read them to me.  I love going and seeing movies with you and riding our bikes together too.  All these things you have to be big for.  But it also seems that the bigger you get the more independent you get.  The more you don’t need me.  And the funny thing is, the bigger you get, the more I need you!  I wanted to say thank you and let you know that I am grateful for your help.  Thank you for cleaning up messes that Tatum makes.  Thank you for helping me make dinner.  And thank you for putting your clothes away even though I know you hate doing it.

So, my child, go and “let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”  And what was the verse again?  Oh yeah, you know it, and I always forget, Matthew 5:16.  I love you Piper and am so proud of the girl you have become in your first 5 ½ years of your life.  I can’t wait to see what is in store in the future!



Dear Piper

Summer is over and many great times have passed- like paddle boarding to the Newport Dunes and sleeping out in our fort.  But September will be different this year, we will both be going to school.  I’m so excited to see all of the students and do many great things.  And I’m so excited for you too.  Your mom and I have been praying and praying, asking God to put you in the perfect school, in the perfect class, with the perfect kids.  Not that everyday of school will be perfect- some days will be hard, some will be boring, some kids might not be friendly, and some kids might even be mean- but perfect meaning just what God wants for you.  Sometimes he might want you to be nice to kids who are mean and sometimes he wants you to be patient when it’s not your turn.  God is making you perfect, just like he’s perfect, one day at a time.  So even though Mommy and Daddy won’t be by your side, we’ll be praying for you each and every day, that you might remember your God bump, that special place where God lives within you, going everywhere with you.  I’m so thankful for the Bible verse you taught me recently: “God loves you where ever you are”.  Jesus is the best friend, the best teacher, and the best father you will ever have.  Thank you Piper for teaching me so much, I am so proud of you and always will be.  So to my special little girl, my schatzi, I wish you a wonderful first year of school- you’ll do great!

I love you- Te Amo


“Do not seek your own good, but what is good for others”  1 Corinthians 10:24