Friday, August 28, 2015

Five on Friday

Usually around this time of year I do a five on Friday of our favorites from the "back to school" process.  Here are a few we've loved adding to our collection this year.



1. Twinkle Toes Backpack & Shoes for M - Grandma went with her to pick her new Kindergarten backpack and they selected this light up, butterfly swirl version. The shoes she is wearing nearly constantly are also from Twinkle toes (you can see her with both items above).  The shoes also light up on the toes, which is much better than on the heels as she can see it more.  Very fun!

2. Pottery Barn Kids Dragon Lunch Box - B picked out this lunch box and while it is expensive it is totally awesome.  I love the fabric and the lunch tray it comes with and everything.  I'm all for cool fabric designs that are not licensed products too :)  Our second favorite lunch packing item was a cool square lunch container from Old Navy of all places that fits perfectly in M's square lunch box and has tiered trays for salad (or sandwich) underneath and fruits, dressing,etc.. on the top tray.

3. Gap Socks - I "may" have gone overboard ordering socks for the boys.  I ordered each 12 pairs.... We're constantly out of socks or not finding matches or wearing them out or having the wrong sizes. I just relied on someone's recommendation that these were good.  Found some good coupons and bought them.  So far, they are great.  They feel really soft and the boys happily wear them all the time.  (The ones pictured are the ones I bought B.  They seem to be out of the cool strippey ones I bought E.....)

4. Wildly Co. - Basics - This is a cool company that sells great basics and one clever shirt per month that typically features a quote or saying I'd love to see my kids in and thinking about.  They are usually a bit too expensive for me to justify for just one t-shirt though.  Through the end of the month, everything is 30% off so I bought a couple basics for B & a skirt for M.  I'm trying to be more conscious about what companies and people I support with my money and am glad to support the family behind this company a bit while buying staples for the kids.



5. Get to Work Book - I'm moving back to nearly full time work and with it more things to keep pulled together at my job.  After my "almost busy season" pile began to grow I decided it was time to find a better organizational system.  I am just as shocked as you are that this will involve a paper planner. (This is just for work. Our family calendar will continue to run online for better sharing).  The best fit for my project based work I could think of was Elise Blaha's Get to Work Book.  Sadly, the version that covers the next few months is sold out. I pre-ordered the version that starts in January and bought an Agenda from "A Beautiful Mess" that will hopefully get me started in the meantime.  Both are created by creative, entrepreneurial women who designed them and their small businesses themselves so more people I'm more than happy to support.

Any back to school things your family is loving --- either for kids or adults? We always love new ideas. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

High/Low - - of Parenting


The longer we are parents the more things we learn or relearn.  For example, back to school stunningly reminds me that three kids require a lot of logistics.  Way more logistics, in fact, than when they hang around the house most of the summer. Who knew? There are other things that we're reminded of frequently like how different they each are, but with some underlying similarities. Then there are days like today where one is on a big "High" and the other is rolling towards a low.  First the good news----

High - I feel so incredibly blessed that Lady M had an immediate friend in kindergarten.  You see, one of the girls in her class she already knew a bit from Sunday School.  So, everyone rejoiced that they get to see each other six days a week and are getting along famously even if her sweet friend has a tendency to cry multiple times a day about missing her mama (which sounds a lot like me in earlier years, actually).  M is apparently OK with it.  This evening, we walked in the the dance studio already both very excited for M's new ballet class. Her sweet friend spotted us almost immediately and they were both over joyed.  They quickly discovered at least 3 other CT Kindergarteners in the same class.  Everyone is so excited that they will be in school, dance, and Sunday School together.  It sounds like the start of a great friendship.  M was SO excited after dance about the friend and the class. It was awesome.  She is already asking to add the Jazz/Tap class that happens immediately after ballet with the same kids so she can dance longer.  So awesome.  She was singing, dancing, and spouting happiness.


Low - Mr. B, but you guessed, right? He started off school very happy as I noticed and I don't think he's necessarily unhappy yet, just had kind of a tough day.  He told us this evening that he discovered you can be "school sick."  Brent and I were confused, but "school sick" is when you miss your old school (like being homesick).  They did something with a peace sign today and it reminded him of his old school's shirts from last year and he was sad thinking of missing all that.  He did identify that he already has a friend in his class as one girl from his soccer team is in his class too, so that is good, but don't see them being best friends or anything.  He also had to run around the playground and thought he was going to die as his chest was hurting -- had to explain it is likely a combination of not having run much and asthma. Also, we have a letter-writing project that includes M&B each writing at least one letter to be mailed each week.  The recipient varies based on their choice for the week.  This week, B chose his life long buddy P whom he hasn't seen at all in many months.  The letter is so sad as it asks if they can play, but notes they probably won't be able to.  He ran away after handing it to me :(  Also, his Spanish teacher didn't show up today.  Not the end of the world, but she is good at cheering him up.  I think in general he is fine.  It is just, as we anticipated, hard.

And so it goes... many days are more in the middle and probably most of this one was.  It just seemed like the contrast was unusually high. I so hope B finds another wonderful friend at this school as he has at the prior two. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ten on Tuesday



1.  Since Week in the Life ended I've taken approximately 4 photos.... I'm sure I'll return to it soon. One of them is above - Zane and Ro spent Monday morning with us while their mom went to the Doctor.  Then E and I headed to the Post Office and Lowes.  Things I wonder include how all of our family errands get done once I transition to nearly full time work next week.  (Did I mention that is happening?)

2.  Today was the fourth day of school.  Things that are becoming clear:

  • Kindergarteners are not the best conveyers of information.
  • Our schedule is going to be complicated with two kids in grade school who each have two activities for the fall (B - Baseball & Spanish; M - Dance & French).  Oh, and Sunday School for both. 
  • The bus ride is much shorter than before, which is awesome.
  • The new school has more shaded playgrounds and less parking issues
  • Lunch is a never ending topic of discussion. 

3. I'm currently reading the Fold.  It is really intense sci fi/suspense.  I found out about it from Rick Riordan's blog (the author of the Percy Jackson books).  It is definitely for adults, but also a cannot put down type book.  

4.  We are implementing a family-wide wake up time for the first time in forever.  This is tied to the fact that starting next week everyone in our family has somewhere to be by 8:15 at the latest.  This is more than an hour earlier than in the past.  Yes, I'm already mourning the end of my slow leisurely mornings.  E's school has a lot of random breaks so I'll try and take advantage of those and shift my days around to get some morning time.  I really do think the work schedule change is necessary and probably really good for me career-wise, but just because I want it doesn't mean I'm not going to mourn these other things....like getting to sleep in a bit when I want to.  I suppose I'll need to put the book down and go to sleep earlier at night.

5.  I've been contemplating a lot of purchases of late. The new house "needs" a variety of things to make it fully usable, repaired, comfortable, or pretty.  It is so hard to decide what to do now and what to wait on.  There are limited amounts of money left for these decisions, at least until I start working more.  I keep saying I'm going to wait... but then get tempted by something.  I do, for example, really want/need a chair for the office so Brent and I can have our "alone together" time at night.  I "think" I've selected the chair, but it costs about $700 including shipping, tax, etc... I want to buy a piece that will last, but cannot decide when to pull the trigger and keep thinking there will be a sale as West Elm constantly has sales. Realistically, should pay off the credit card first and not spend money I haven't yet made in the job transition --- rambling.

6.  M seems to be making lots of friends, but remains very confused that a boy invited her to his birthday party this weekend.  It turns out several other people in her class are turning six this month so she isn't dramatically the oldest.  She does seem a bit tired and definitely over excited by everything. I very much hope this gasping trend passes soon.  Overall, I think she is transitioning well save for a few nerves about the bus process.  B continues to be a great help.

7.  B is not making friends as quickly.  This was to be expected as he is joining a grade where friendships are already in place.  He is starting to think that maybe he just won't be friends with half the class this year and was thinking about stopping working on it.  We've agree to a goal of three friends by the end of the year and that he will continue to try to work on that.  He does seem genuinely happy though and comes home "up." each day so I'm not particularly worried, just sad he's lost his big crew of friends from the other school.  He does love all the new lunch options the district has added this year and is being a super helper with M.

8.  E is still on the potty training struggle bus. We've moved on to bigger bribes.  Today, we picked out a ninja turtle toy he cannot have until he poops in the potty five times.  He has managed it more times than that in the past, but not consistently.  The plan has already caused several melt downs as I'm not sure he can grasp delayed gratification, but is getting smaller candy/tiny toy things at each step.  I am loving our time together and notice it is strangely quiet without the bigger kids.  He definitely moves at a slow pace so there is lots of waiting for him to rejoin me when we go out and about. I love it when he tells me stories and gets so excited about things.  I hope he likes his new school next week.

9. Brent has repaired his computer, which is a major victory.  It was built for him by friends so it isn't exactly a standard out of the box operation and I think I probably would have tossed it, but he/they sorted out a repair idea and it seems to be working well again, which is good for all of his as he needs a stress relief outlet too.

10. We had these BBQ Turkey Lettuce wraps for dinner tonight with Brent's parents who were watching the kids for parent orientation part 1.  They were very simple and a big hit.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

WITL 2015 - Sunday

Sunday morning- wake up is about 7:15 for me.  I get the kids ready and fed while Brent gets to sleep in a bit. (I get to sleep in all during the week compared to his schedule so it is more than fair).  My mom is around to chat and help as well. Then off to church around 8:40.  
We sit next to my sister in Mass, which is a rare treat and pretty entertaining with five kids between us. I think it goes rather well, all things considered. 
This was our view during the announcements. 

Mass was quite surprising as the priest invited all the couples to renew their vows!  It was pretty cool to do and neat to be with my sister and her husband as they renewed theirs simultaneously. 

I, of course, love kissing pictures with my husband.  We took advantage of the "cake" set up for a wedding photo opportunity.  I've never ever seen this happen in Mass in my life so it was just a huge awesome moment.  They even, as you can see, had a mini-reception for us all afterwards!

Ro & Zach were all for cake and punch in addition to the normal doughnuts. 
E enjoyed his cake while the big kids were in their first Sunday school of the new year. 

B is in the First Reconciliation and First Communion cycle this year so his teachers had a lot to say at the beginning of class.  The teachers seemed really good and have been doing this for about 10 years so they are ready to roll.  It is going to be a big year for them all!
M is in class with her life long friend Ashtyn as well as her friend from school Paisley.  She seemed to have a great time and loved seeing her friends again. 
My mom joined us for lunch at hideaway and treated us all to pizza as a "wedding" gift.  Had we had any idea the vow renewal was happening I'm sure she would have come to watch it too!

We got home about 12:20 and it was time for some rest.  B likes to watch videos in our bed for some reason. 
M & E watched some shows together. 

Brent began reconstructing the Death Star LEGO that was disassembled for the move. I did (gasp!) some scrapbooking.
Kids drifted in and out -- they would help Brent, build their own LEGO sets, or just chat while we palyed.
E watched "Turbo" episodes during most of this so we had to call off the electronics and he joined in the LEGO fun.
M decided to make a dinner creation of her own. She found this clipboard and wrote out all the ingredients first.  Then we had a little discussion about if it would work, and gathered ingredients.
She added almost all the ingredients herself and it was a great vegetable noodle soup. It was good to have lots of vegetables after a weekend when we mostly ate pizza at various events.
I photographed the 4!! pages I made today -- This one is about M's dress of the summer. In preparing for her birthday earlier in the month I realized there weren't a lot of pages about M at age 5 so I worked on adding to that grouping for her today.
Then, a quick six year old interview page --- You can find the text on my blog here. My scrapbooking process today involved a lot of walking around to gather my supplies, they are in the laundry room cabinets these days, and to the office to print things and blog the birthday interview.  It wasn't efficient, but worked out.
I have access to a limited amount of supplies at the moment, but am really happy with what I can create with this stash and didn't hesitate to us all I wanted of it.

I love the Ali Edwards Story Kits--- so much so that they are the only scrapbooking supplies I'm buying just now.  This page features elements from the "roots" kit that came out this summer.  It was perfectly timed to our move into our new house at the end of June. 

After dinner, Brent was teaching E a game and I went outside and read in the hammock for a bit.  The weather was just too nice for people to be inside so we threw together an evening family walk (about 6pm).  This is the first of two playgrounds in our neighborhood that we visited. 

Playground #2 - M & B were big fans of swinging today.  B discovered he can jump out of the swing in the uprise portion and land on his feet.  He loved it.
We took Brent to our favorite, and the wildest, of the neighborhood ponds.
I love this bit of wild right in the middle of our neighborhood.  So fun.
Can you spot all four people in this photo as we wander the small "woods" near the pond--- yes, the walk was unplanned and E had had an early bath, but we just went with it. We left the area around 7:30 as it really was time to head to bed.
M&E ran a lot on the way home, but M did take time to notice these mushrooms in someone's yard.  B did a good job waiting for us at intersections. (You can see him in the distance here).
Me @ 8pm waiting for kids to get in bed.  I had just done battle with some trumpet vine (which will take over the world if left untended) and pruned a few bushes before calling it a day.  

We rounded out the day with a little bit more LEGO time, blogging, books, and games.  

And that's it!  Seven days of chronicling a very interesting week in our lives.  Thanks to everyone who read along, participated, and helped us out this week.  I have quite a few amazing photos from this project as well as many memories and moments recorded that I am so very thankful for.  I'm not sure if I will put the photos/stories in an album, but even if I don't having them here is wonderful. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

WITL 2015 - Saturday

Brent and I slept in until 7 something and missed saying goodbye to my brother, who had spent the night in our guest room.  It did leave me time to get dressed for a busy day and make a lot of silly faces in this mirror while attempting a selfie. 
The big kids had eaten when we woke up, but I helped E with his breakfast while texting with my brother. 
 Then, we split up to different activities.  Brent and B did some work on the garage and then went to baseball practice at 10.  Baseball practice requires them both to participate all the time so sadly no photos. I hear it was a bit of a rough day as B got hit twice with the ball and spiraled a bit from there.  E, M, and I began our adventures with French lessons at 9:15.  Of course I don't have pictures of that either... oops?
E and I went to Starbucks while M was in her lessons - Caramel Machiatto for me and apple juice for him after a long wait as apparently everyone else was treating themselves too. Then, we stopped to pick up M and had a brief chat with her teacher while M & E played with her kids.  They all would have liked to play longer, but all of us had other places to be.  We left with a strong note that more practice is needed on a daily basis as she forgot a lot over the summer. Noted. 
Next up,  buying ballet shoes for M at the local dance store.  E enjoyed the mirrors more than the shopping. The shoes are really nice, much more so than the ones from payless, but not that much more expensive...hmmm. (10am)
The dance studio has a dress code (the normal ballet one) and we were not buying anything that did not meet the dress code, but M could not resist a look. 
Next up, a stop at Dance Unlimited, aka the dance studio, for the open house.  We checked out the assigned studio for the fall, signed waivers, and, of course, spent some time dancing in the new room.  M declared she wants to be an artist AND a dancer. I told her that was fine. 
 On the way out of the shopping center, I saw an Old Navy and stopped to buy clothes for Brent, forgetting they don't sell his sizes in the store, only online.  While I attempted to find the proper sizes in vain, the kids brought me various jewelry items to see if I wanted them.  I ended up with a shirt and some tupperware for M's lunch box. One more stop on the way home to pick up dry cleaning.  Who know dry cleaning one dress cost $16 (Yes, I telecommute and live in the dark ages, apparently).
We met up with the boys at home for just a little bit before the baseball team swim party.  We spent almost 3 hours at Coach Brad's house swimming, eating, and chatting with the team.  B particularly enjoyed getting to hang out with friends from his old school.
 At home, it was nap time (no photos).  Brent and I rested/read on the couch while M&B played with electronics and E, allegedly napped.  After that, it was time for some house projects.
 Brent repaired a variety of things that needed fixing while B and I unpacked six boxes from the garage.  The boxes were mostly scrapbooks and some decor type items. It felt good to have some progress though. B is a very good helper when he gets started on something.
E did a bit of this -- very normal upside down time for him. 
And read some books... This photo prompted me to tidy the downstairs and the office. 

M helped Brent take down some birthday party decorations (from her party three weeks ago) and played in her room. 

 Brent hung some of the retired birthday party decorations in her room so we can continue to enjoy them.  She loves room decorating.
Between helping me with projects B read in his bed. 

 E likes to check in with everyone so he joined us upstairs after his book time.
 I love to capture them playing when they aren't looking --- No, I don't know why she switched to PJs midafternoon, but didn't fight that particular battle.
 One of Brent's projects was hanging some Owl art in M's bathroom.
 E joined the fun, of course.  Around this time, B and I decided to attempt to use the new fire ladder we purchased.  It was fairly quickly clear it wasn't going to work from his window, but it took us quite awhile to get it down and repackaged and consider what other alternatives might work.  There was a lot talk of fire safety in the process which is always good.  The fire ladder now lives in the guest room where it probably would work, but would also break the downstairs window if we tested it.  Here's hoping we never have to find out.
 Brent moved on to garage organization projects while B and I were working on fire safety.  Dinner was pretty informal as we had a late, big lunch.  We mostly had left overs and bits of things before baths.
 E snagged a bit more electronics time while other people bathed.

 Then, group Lord of the Rings reading while I continued to tidy up and get ready for my run.  After the kids were in bed, I headed out the door to run and encountered my mom pulling in the driveway to spend the night. I ran about 2.33 miles through the neighborhood before coming home to stretch, check in with my mom, shower, and read next to Brent before bed.

A busy day, but good.  It was the first weekend in maybe a month that we haven't traveled anywhere. so it felt great to be home even with activities and projects filling the day.


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