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More than any other back-to-school time, this year I have a varied range of mixed emotions than usual- happy, sad, excited, scared. My oldest child is entering the tumultuous waters of middle school, and my baby, and last child, starts kindergarten. These two milestones meet me with bittersweet feelings. As mothers, we want our children to progress and succeed, but in the same breath, we want nothing to change, which provides an impossible conundrum. When KCFM's Editor, LJ Corby Radon, asked me if on the first day of school I was going to be one of the moms crying, or one of the moms jumping for joy, I couldn't answer her because I don't know myself. But, no matter how I feel inside, for my children's sake, I will put on my brave face and smile, smile, smile.

The funny thing is that my kids are excited for school and can't wait for their new adventure they have no trepidation! My daughter loves the idea of having her own locker and meeting new teachers and friends. My son starting kindergarten is excited to be at the same school as his older brother, whom he idolizes. And, the middle child, my soon-to-be second grader, CAN wait for class time, but can't wait for recess.

Many parents sending their children to kindergarten on the first day of school have feelings of anxiety. Some ways to help ease the transition for parents and students alike can be found in my article, "How to Rule the School in Kindergarten," on page 10. Check out tips for parents to help their children become kindergarten-ready. And parents can alleviate the sting they feel when leaving their child at school for the first time with a "Boo Hoo Breakfast."

Another part of the back-to-school schedule is riding the bus to and from school. In the article, "School Bus Safety Zone," on page 11, I write about ways to make sure your children have the best possible bus ride experience. Caleen Geissel, Kern County Superintendent of Schools Transportation Field Supervisor, provided invaluable knowledge and expertise on school bus safety tips.

Also in this issue, don't miss reading KCFM's monthly Humor at Home column by Tracie Grimes. In her article, "Party Line Chatter Leaves Prattlers Pooped," on page 8, she writes about how conversations in her house can resemble "party lines" from the technologically deprived days of her youth when five families shared one phone line. She says overhearing bits and pieces of a conversation can take even the most mundane topics to the weirdest of tangents.

As summer break comes to a close and school bells ring, reading can continue to be an important part of family activities. In Tracie Grimes's article, "Ways to Work Reading into your Family's Summer Fun," on page 15, she gives some tips on how to encourage your children to become avid readers. Her monthly recommendations include "ABC Kids," by Simon Basher, "Extreme Rainforest: Amazing Encounters with Incredible Animals," by Nam Nyugen, and "Ken Karta: Battle of the Onoxmon," by Alison Kartevold. And, for us mommies, she says, "Water for Elephants," by Sara Gruen, is a captivating read that delves into the mysterious backstage drama of the circus through the eyes of Jacob Jankowski.

As you send your children back to school, whether you're the mom crying or the one doing cartwheels, savor each one of their milestones. And, don't forget the camera!

Change is inevitable, so we might as well embrace it!

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