Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer's End


The end is in sight, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are days away from the new school year; supplies have been bought (after multiple trips to multiple stores), teachers have been assigned, new shoes and clothes have been purchased, and tonight is open house. We have 2 weekdays left of summer and I am both compelled to do something amazing to end it with a bang, and completely wrung out and over it all.

Thankfully the kids seem to take turns being the trying ones this summer, for a while it was the eldest with the trying-on of tween attitude, then it was the middle with his constant need for someone to tell him what to do when his sister wanted to play alone, then (and often) it was the youngest with her almost-three demanding independence about all things. This week she has had a slight cold and at the same time has decided not to nap anymore which lead to a 4-8pm meltdown on both of our parts. Good times.

Today is also day #22 of our Whole30 plan. Whole30 is an elimination diet where you only eat meat, nuts, veggies and fruit for 30 days. There is no sugar, no grains, no dairy, and no alcohol allowed. After Michigan where we ate and drank all the things, we knew it was going to be as good a time as any to start. We prepped and read testimonies, and found recipes and shopped for good food. We planned to start on August 1st but soon realized we had this amazing fridge full of food and decided to start a day early. It has been a great experience and I'll write more about it later but so far (even though it's not a weight-loss plan and you're not supposed to weigh yourself), I've lost over 10lbs. That's a nice perk but also my skin is clearer, as is my mind. You're supposed to have this amazing, boundless energy, but so far I'm struggling at the end of the day, that could be more about being worn out from a house full of 3 kids and it being summer though.

More on all of that at another time, I need to gather the troops and figure out what to do with our 2nd to last day of summer. I think my grand idea today is to drive 25 minutes to the $2 movie. Whoohoo, we have the most fun. It's a good thing the kids don't yet know how often their friends have been to Carowinds or the beach or other more exciting venues. I'll let that be my little secret as long as I can...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

So Much Love

I'm feeling quite the love lately, so much love in fact that I'm currently hiding in the bedroom reading with "mommy's hip hop mix" blasting in my earbuds while ^J^ puts M down. Summer has been and is amazing so far, but being with M during every waking hour has made her much more dependent on mommy for everything. Ironically she's also entering my least favorite kid-phase "the terrible threes". Yep, threes. The independence that comes with 3 is so persistent and so sudden, and so verbose! I try my best to let her have as much indepdence as possible so that when it's necessary for me to take control, she won't freak too much. But sometimes, like today at Barnes and Noble when she asserted her independence by attempting to "do it myself" on the moving escalator, I just have to intervene. You know, like when she decides to sit on a moving escalator with a super-long princess dress on (that she picked out of course), I feel compelled to take control in that situation! And then the poor shoppers have to endure the ensuing frustrated cries because mommy didn't want her sucked into the machinery of the escalator. 
But then there was this while shopping too:
I turned the corner and she had this gigantic pile under her chin. "I want dis Mama." No big deal mom, just over $50 of princess Dupleo sets and a Frozen book. I seriously don't know how her little muscles could carry all this. It's a good thing she's cute! 
She's also become more daring at the pool lately. At the beginning of the summer, she had little control of herself with her floaty on, and we had to be with her the whole time. Now she's quite independent in her floaty and propels herself where she wants to go with this amazing dolphin-frog kick she's invented. We can even sit on the side of the pool and watch for a bit. 
But then, this week she decided it was time to start holding her breath and putting her face in for long periods of time. So far she's really in control with this and the only issue is that she's doing it constantly so I've got to watch her like a hawk. Then she started opening her eyes under the water so we got her goggles and she ended up looking like this:
Oops, a little tight maybe.
So to sum up, I'm feeling the love, lots of love. And as I type this, the love has found me. 
Sigh. Good night! 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Full-swing

The school year ended a little over a week ago, and as I reflect back on it, I'm so grateful for what a good school year we had. Last year was so incredibly stressful with the drama at A's school. This year we couldn't be more proud! The child who they said should repeat 2nd grade ended up not only passing her End of Grade test, but getting above average scores!! Her teacher awarded her the "Junior Scientist" award too. 
I'm just so grateful that we trusted our instincts and that we know our child well enough to be able to make a decision other than one that's being made for us! Also, I'm seriously trying to suppress the urge to mail a copy of her test scores to that %*#+^! teacher and principal from last year with a giant "I told you so!" note.

So now we have a 2nd and 4th grader and we're enjoying the (kind of) lazy days of summer. I actually just set up a job chart so their days aren't as lazy as they were, but they needed it and seem to enjoy the structure. We'll, A does. H needs reminding and prodding. ;)

We've lived at the pool. It always surprises me that with swim team
practice nearly everyday and meets twice a week, they still want to go swim for fun! They are both at the bottom of their age brackets for swim team this year, so it's been a growing year for both of them. But they both continue to show improvement and they really do seem to enjoy it, so that's all that matters! 

This one likes it too, dispite the smirk on her face, especially when she can swim during practices. She started doing the backstroke (on land) the other day while we were watching a meet and her technique was actually pretty good! So funny what she picks up on!
When we can't get in and have to wait for the kiddos at practice, we sweat (a lot) and make silly faces to pass the time. And someone often steals my sunglasses...

Well there's more to share but it'll have to wait. Cartoons and coffee awaits!



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In Summer!

Things are looking up now that it's almost June (and no longer May). Pollen and bugs have slowed down, school programs are done (except for the end of year gifts and parties), and we've just gotten back from a fun vacation to Disney and had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

Memorial Day really felt like the kick off to summer this year which is great except for the fact that the big kids still have 2 weeks of school. *A* finished testing yesterday so now she's really in summer-mode too since they're pretty much doing nothing at school the next two weeks. She told me today they have plans to design their own roller coasters. Um, okay. We celebrated the end of testing last night with pizza and doughnuts (*A*'s choice). 

Tonight we have (H)'s 2nd playoff game. I haven't taken many photos of him at baseball this year, so I need to bring my camera tonight. I just love watching their skills in baseball and swimming (and even testing skills) grow and develop. One if the other moms on the team sent me these, I love them.

Miss M and I have the next 2 weeks to ourselves since preschool is finished for the year and we've been quite lazy so far. Pjs and cartoons with milk(her) and coffee(me) after the big kids go to school, followed by a little time on the patio watering the garden and maybe some laundry and coloring thrown in. I love this time with just her, and eventhough she's starting to develop quite the opinons, and I can't seem to get any housework done while she's awake; she's such an entertaining little person to be around! 



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May Madness

It's a well-kept secret that May is the new December. It's crazy y'all. And I forget how crazy it is until it's here. So there's no pre-planning or prep, it just appears with it's programs and parties and gobs of gift buying and testing and field days.

But it's all fun right? How can all that fun stuff be stressful?
I don't know how, it just is.

And it's hot, like 90 suddenly, which I'm fine with, but then you have to prepare kids for the sun with lotions and hats and sunglasses.

And there's allergies, which this year have been really bad for our eldest, so we're trying to enjoy the beautiful weather but we can't because she's coughing like an 80 year old smoker; so we're stuck inside, watching tv, because they're too tired from school and all the testing prep to do anything stimulating.

Oh yeah, and there's bugs out there now which every year they forget about and so the appearance of bugs is new, and freak-out inducing.

I think I used to like May, or maybe I liked the idea of May. You know, warm weather, flowers, end of school, (or as we know it: stinky kids, itchy eyes, and test anxiety), it's conjures good (but flase) images.

But we're off to Disney soon, and testing will be over soon, and swim team starts soon (that's a good thing, right?); so it's all good.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring!

It's Spring! It's Easter! I'm back! (hopefully)
Here's to new life, warmer longer days, and hopefully a renewed interest in blogging. I've attempted re-starting things numerous times and even written a few blog-post-starts, but just haven't been "feeling it" lately. ^J^ and I were talking yesterday about how we failed on our Lenten disciplines and how doing a discipline during the 50 days of Easter seemed like a good idea instead. There's something about Spring that's inspiring and makes one feel more productive, so hopefully I can make the time and have the interest to make this place one of my areas of renewal. I'm not promising a daily post, but something has got to be better than letting months pass with no blog entries! Also trying to renew the no-wheat/primal thing and exercise.

So far this week I walked a few miles Monday, took a yoga class yesterday, and walked again today so we're off to a good start! Food-wise I'm doing ok but the Easter basket temptations are getting to me.

Kiddos are back to school after a good Spring Break last week, it wasn't long enough though and I think we're all feeling Spring Fever already. We head to Disney in less than a month though so that'll help. I am nervous about taking the kids out of school for a week so close to the end of school and testing week, but I also feel kind of justified in doing so since Spring Break was also Holy Week and we don't get a real break/vacation since ^J^ has his busiest week of the year at this time. I'll try explaining that to their teachers but I'm not real sure how it will fly.

Ok, I'm off to make some afternoon snacks, but I'll leave you with a few Easter pics of the cuties.






Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Silence is Golden

My house is quiet. It's an amazing sound. We've had days and weeks of snow, and sickness, and a revolving door of house guests that have led to not having a full, normal week back to the routines since before Christmas. I'm hoping this is our week to all be well and in school without weather interruptions. I mean it is mid-February, shouldn't we have at least one week of normal this winter?!

The snow days were quite fun though, and since everything shut down and the roads were covered with 7 inches of fluffy beautiful snow, J got to be home with us too. We had snowball fights, went sledding, made lots of comfort food (and ate way too much of it), read, attempted snowmen, watched movies, played board games, made rainbow looms galore, ate snow cream, and more. We really made the most of the time together and it was quite nice actually. I hear people on Facebook complain about too much togetherness, and sometimes I am right there with them; the kids are fighting, my patience is thin, but none of that happened this time and it was so nice. I'm calling it our Snowcation. Sure we lost a few scheduled school breaks including 2 Spring Break days, but we had an unplanned vacation at home to all be together and enjoy. Spring Break for us is a non-event this year anyway because it's Holy Week and we can't go anywhere since that's kind of the busiest week of the year for a clergy family. We tend to move our Spring vacation to another week and just pull the kids out of school for a few days. This year we're moving it to May and headed to Disney! I'm a little nervous about pulling A out at this time of year with testing and all but it'll be fine. I hope.

Ok, I'm off to enjoy the silence. Although I'm feeling a bit paralyzed by all the choices: do I take a walk, clean house, read, watch a show, go shopping, do yoga, or just sit and stare and listen to the silence?

Here's a look back at the fun we had last week:
My snow walk before kids came home for 3.5 snow days:


Then the snow really started falling and the fun began: