Nine months ago, this little girl faced her first day of preschool: shy, reserved, nervous, and excited. She slung a Princess backpack over her narrow shoulders and walked into the classroom holding anxiously to my leg. I was nervous. She was nervous. The first two weeks, she barely spoke and didn't want to play directly with the other kids. I agonized over whether or not we'd made the right decision.
I need not have worried. Not only did she get nothing but perfect report cards like the one above every day, she flourished in preschool. She learned to write her name. Learned to identify letters and numbers. Began to display some really solid reasoning and rationalizing and imagination, and all of it was amazing to observe. She kissed her first boy. She made new friends. She wowed the teachers, all of whom repeatedly told us how loving and kind and amazing and helpful she is, only serving to make our parenting egos grow exponentially each time and make us breathe a sigh of relief. She loved preschool, and I know next year she'll be so excited to go back!
On her first day of preschool, I walked out of the classroom with tears burning my eyelids and cried in my car.
On her last day of preschool, her teachers started to cry as soon as they saw me walk up to the door to get her. It really touched me to know she touched them so deeply.
She didn't cry until we got to the car. When I asked what was wrong she said, "I will miss Miss Katie (her favorite 'teacher', Miss Katie is off to college in L.A. next year). She's really special."
My camera is still away being repaired, so the pictures of her last day weren't as clear as the first, but nonetheless I love the comparison of Then vs. Now.
(She dressed herself for her last day)
Before that last day, though, the preschool hosted a banquet, which included dancing and food and cake and lots and lots of candy. Each kid even got to walk across the stage and get a bucket made for them and a certificat of completion. A year ago, I think she would have shrunk back and insisted I walk with her. This year, she strutted right across and gave a sweet smile.
(With favorite teacher Miss Katie in the skirt she gifted Luca for her 4th birthday)
She makes me proud every single day.
In other news, my New Year's Resolutions have been a mixed bag as far as results go. I'm on week 3 of going to Weight Watchers meetings, but almost 6 months into following the plan online. 'Following' is a loose term as I've had more 'eh' weeks than great ones, but I am proud that I'm still going. One of my resolutions this year was not buying new things unless I HAVE to (i.e. diapers, toiletries, etc.), but I broke that rule for a good reason. Before the end of 2010, I bought a pair of jeans at Old Navy for a ridiculous clearance price, but in a size too small. They now fit (!!!) so earlier this week I celebrated that small success by buying another pair in the same size. Granted, it was only $10 for the jeans (gotta love clearance!) but I had a little guilt about breaking my 'no new stuff' streak. Regardless, I think it's necessary to reward myself and it had been so long since I'd bought myself new jeans that the 2 pairs I had in constant rotation were starting to wear dangerously thin in some non-G-rated places. So I am now the proud owner of 2 pairs of cute new jeans in 1 size smaller than I was wearing when the year kicked off. I'd love to be in a place where my weight loss successes were celebrated with a new swimsuit I could comfortably wear in front of other people, rather than 2 new pairs of jeans in a size I still don't really love, but it's about celebrating where I am right now.
We've also been working on our plans to get rid of debt and spend less, though that's going even more rough than the weight loss resolution. April and May were tough months financially, but we struggled through them and came out at the end of May with a solid plan for the rest of the year. And then, we got a notice from the IRS that we'd been audited and miscalculated our 2009 taxes. We had an investment account we cashed out early in 2009 and we never got the tax form for it. By the time taxes were due in April 2010, we forgot entirely about that and didn't claim it. Sadly, we're now $573 poorer for the mistake. In addition, our van failed emissions testing. It was not exactly shocking given the van is a Kia and has over 98,000 miles. What was shocking is how much it's costing to fix. It's currently in the shop and we're expecting it to be close to $1,000 to fix. We don't have much of a choice, since it has to pass the emissions test and we can't afford to buy another car right now, but it's a tough pill to swallow spending that much to fix it when we can't be sure how long it's going to go for once that's done.
The good news is we were able to plan these expenses into our summer budget, which is different than the rest of the year because my husband doesn't work in the summer. He gets a big check at the start of the summer, and we don't pay daycare or preschool, so we should be ok, but it sucks to watch that chunk of money disappear from our account in a snap of the fingers. Either way, we're on the same page financially and as stressful as money can sometimes be it's nice to feel like we have a plan to move forward. I'm excited to share how we've decided to address our finances in a way we think will be easy to manage and to self-regulate, but that's got to wait a few weeks until all our June bills are paid and the car and tax payments go through, so we know where we are starting from.
The next 6 months promise to be busy and crazy and fun. We have a vacation planned at the end of summer, which we're looking forward to. Darrick is taking a class to help work toward his Masters, I got a raise at work, and our family is happy and healthy. Here's to the rest of 2011!