Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Blooper Real

I was trying to clean up my picture files this week and came across the pile of pictures I had of Cora and her best buddy Rory on their last day of preschool back in May.  At the time I really just wanted one or two good photos to document their last day.  I remember being frustrated because all I wanted was ONE good picture where they were both smiling and looking at the camera!!  It got to the point where I threw up my hands and just laughed because it seemed so impossible.  I put down the camera, slightly disgusted and thought "ugh...whatever, good enough" and moved on.  Today as I was clicking through being ruthless with my delete button, I realized when I got to this set of pictures I was having trouble deleting any.  Why?  Certainly not because of their photogenic smiling poses.  No I actually found something better.  I realized each picture perfectly captured their personalities, their relationship, and the way they interact with each other.  When you look at the photos together it's like a sneak peak into an amazing friendship. Sometimes the blooper real is better than perfection....that's life, right..?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Start of a New Year

Well, we are half way through our second week of school and are still chugging along.  Dare I say it has been a fairly smooth transition?!?  I closed daycare for the first day.  We had their chore charts in place and the morning went smoothly with plenty of time to take pictures.  Cora was excited, and Beau was indifferent.  There was no reluctance to head off to school from either one.  As the bus drove away Cora gave Sylvie and I a big wave from the window.  Sylvie held her tears in all the way back to the house before bursting into sobs.  She doesn't like the idea that her big sister gets to go somewhere without her, and she's just plain going to miss her.  It will take a few days to get used to having her gone.  We baked cookies and ran errands to distract ourselves.

Sending Cora off to Kindergarten filled me with an odd mix of emotions.  My heartache was less about worry for her (I know she's more than ready) and more about my little girl growing up, starting a new chapter in her life which I'll have to settle for merely hearing about and not being a part of.  It's hard.

I did really well until a friend of ours sent me a few pictures from school.  They got me all choked up and and had me fighting back tears.  On one hand I was so happy that she was with Rory. I knew she had somebody familiar and they would make it through this new experience together.  On the other hand just seeing her in the school surroundings hit me hard.  My little girl, all on her own, I knew this was one of many times that I would be forced to let go when I wanted to hold on oh so tight.

For Beau, (our big 2nd grader!) it was less about letting go and more about settling back into an established routine.  It was still hard to send him off, but I found myself focused on how quickly he became a 2nd grader, and desperately trying to block out the images of him leaving for college.  He has established friendships, knows the lay of the land, and is ready for a new year.  Of course there will always be worry (I'm a mom, that's what I do), but the newness is taken out of the equation.

I found myself looking at Sylvie throughout the day with a lump in my throat, counting the months before she too (my baby) will be leaving for school.  It was easy to take our time baking cookies, read extra stories, and spend time snuggling before nap.

Yes, my kids are growing up, and all too quickly it seems.  Each stage is a blessing, but sometimes it's hard to move from one into the next.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Week in the Life - Day 7 (Sunday)

After a weekend of running and everyone going their separate ways it felt good to get us all back together again today.    The morning started slow, and so did my photos.  Today was a pretty typical weekend day for us.  The destinations may vary, but we always have a fair amount errands and running around mixed with being home.


This morning started with house guests and no kids.  It's such a strange feeling for me to wake up when even one of my kids is gone, but to wake up to no kids is just surreal.  After getting to bed very late last night, I didn't set my alarm.  I woke up around 6.  The sun was up so I was too.  I can not sleep during the day, and that includes sleeping in (although in my world sleeping until the sun is up would qualify as sleeping in). 

Megan was up shortly after me and we sipped coffee as the rest of the house came alive.  It didn't take long, everyone was up before 7.  By then I was already looking at the clock thinking about picking up my kids, and by mid-morning Megan and I were on the road.

Whenever the kids stay at Grandma and Grandpa's we are greeted less than enthusiastically when it's time to pick them up.  I can come home from the grocery store or get back from a run and they flock to me "Mommy!" with hugs galore.  But noooo, a whole overnight away and its "awwwww, what are you doing here?!" 

We had lunch and hung out for a few hours before getting loaded up and saying goodbye.  Normally we would have probably spent the better part of the day, but with school starting tomorrow I wanted to get home and settled before we needed to start the bedtime routine.

Luke had taken Megan's car to Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's so he could wash the Ranger after yesterday's mudding adventure.  We dropped her and the boys off so they could get started on their long car ride home.

It's always hard to say goodbye.  There's not a single time they leave when I don't wish they lived closer, but I know we are lucky to be close enough that we can still see each other at fairly regular intervals.

We hung out and Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's for a little while before heading back home.  The kids spent most of the time playing with Chelsea's dog, Clarence.  He's so sweet and cuddly.  Beau loves being around dogs.  The older he gets the harder it is for me to remind myelf of all the reasons I don't want a dog.  I like the idea of having a dog, I'm just not so fond of the reality.  He probably needs one.  Maybe someday.

When we got home the kids went to work putting their clean clothes away.  That's the beauty of staying at Grandma's.  Usually when we get home from traveling dirty clothes get dumped in the laundry room for Mom, and if there is anything clean left in their suitcases they are responsible for putting it away.  Well....when they stay with Grandma she does all their laundry so they're responsible for all their clothes and I have no laundry to do.  Score!

After we were unpacked the kids found the leftover ring pops from the Bachelorette party favors.

I absolutely love this photo, and it might end up being my favorite from the entire week.  This is just them.  Wild, silly, goofy, just playing, and always together.  I don't think I could get a more accurate picture of who these two are right now.  Love.

Of course part of the unpacking process included finding a home for the masterpiece I painted last night!!  Ok, so maybe I don't have a future as an artist, but the colors make me happy so it will hang there for now.

Shortly after unpacking Luke and Beau went to town so Beau could be measured for Chelsea's wedding.  They also had to pick up some new football cleats.

While the boys were gone the girls got to work creating their world of blanket swimming pools, which today expanded into the moving of furniture.  When Luke got home he asked what was going on with the chair (you know, because it was sitting in the middle of the living room).  "Cora" was all I had to say for him to come to a complete understanding of the situation.

True to her constant motion and short attention span she soon decided to move downstairs and begin building a fort.  Luke created a fort kit for the kids when their love of fort building started a couple years ago.  It's basically an assortment of PVC pipes cut into different lengths.  They put them together with connector pieces and then drape blankets over the top and fasten them with clips.  As you can see she has quite an eclectic mix of blankets, sheets, a parachute and her Frozen bed tent thrown on top for good measure.

When Beau got home he showed us the football cleats he picked out.  Apparently these snazzy blue ones fit much better than the exact same pair in black ;).  Sylvie immediately got to work trying them on and messing with the laces.  She loves to play with the laces in shoes, a pass time I've grown particularly partial to when I have to re-lace my shoes at 5am, as I'm trying to get out the door for an early morning run.

While this was going on inside I got a text from Luke who was outside washing the mud off his shoes.  It said "have you looked in the backyard lately?"  Ummmm, no.  Of course I immediately looked out the window to see Luke cutting up a huge tree limb that had fallen in the sandbox.

Cora supervised, and then the kids helped him take the branches to the dump.

A quick taco supper tonight. Being as school starts tomorrow I knew I wanted to make something all the kids would eat and enjoy.  Mealtime battles was not how I wanted us to spend the last night of summer.  We had the treat of fresh tomatoes from our potted tomato plants out on the deck.  Hugely exciting since nurturing a plant into maturity is not my strong suit.  Apparently watering at regular intervals is kind of essential.  Forgetting for 2 weeks, dumping a pitcher of water on them and hoping they recover doesn't seem to be the best strategy.  I credit Beau this year since he did most of the watering.

It was early baths and bed tonight.  Our kids require a lot of sleep.  We really try to be headed for bed by 7:30 and lights out by 8 during the school year.  Not always doable once evening activities start, but it's a good goal to shoot for.  Cora's pajama shirt is on backwards.  She does this on purpose with all her pj's,  "I like it that way".

As is typical the girls will be playing and Beau will casually wander in and start playing with helping them.  He's way too cool and way to old to be playing baby games with girls toys, obviously.

Sometimes we'll do bedtime stories separately in the kid's beds, and sometimes it will be all together on the couch.  In all honesty we haven't been very good at reading bedtime stories throughout the summer.  The evenings just seem to slip away from us.  It's a fact I've felt guilty about and struggled with throughout the summer.  I tell myself it's ok, and I read to them enough at other times throughout the day.  But there's just something about that story at bedtime that seems a little more special, and gives closure to the day.  I'm looking forward to getting back on track with more structured bedtime routines as school starts next week.

Luke tucks each of the kids in and wishes them good luck at their first day of school tomorrow.  He tells Cora to make sure she remembers everything so she can tell him all about it tomorrow night.

It's never just a bedtime story with Cora.  That girl will talk and talk and get off on a tangent like no other.  Sometimes it's bedtime stalling, sometimes she's just full of silliness, and sometimes she's so full of wonder about something she has to discuss it.  I try to take a deep breath and take it all in with a smile.  I know I'll miss it all too soon.

Then there's Beau who is liking the independence of being able to read on his own before going to bed.  Our bedtime story routine has morphed into him telling me about the book he is currently reading.  I'm trying to embrace this new stage.

Luke and I finally get to bed before 10.  I end the day by getting my running clothes ready so I can be changed and out the door before my brain is awake enough to start coming up with excuses in the morning.

On to a new week....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week in the Life - Day 6 (Saturday)

Saturday was not a typical day for our family.  At first this bothered me because I didn't feel it would show what a weekend in our life is like right now.  But the more I thought about it I realized that every week has something in it that isn't typical, especially on the weekends.  This particular day just involved us all going in different directions.  Our day was full of fun and people and conversations and going from here to there.  I didn't get many pictures in comparison to the rest of the week, but I'm ok with that.


The day started with Megan and I having coffee on the couch.  Luke's sister, Chelsea, is getting married in October, so today is the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties.  I had an 8 mile run on the training plan so by 6am I knew I needed to get ready and get out the door in order to have time to get the kids down to Grandma and Grandpa's before guests started arriving.  I love getting my long weekend runs done right away Saturday morning.  It gives me a feeling of accomplishment, and energizes me for the weekend.  Plus I don't have to constantly have it looming in the back of my mind.

Today's run called for a "strong finish".  If that means doubling over at the end of the street the second Miss Runkeeper announced the 8 mile mark then I guess I accomplished it.  Either way the sticker went up on the chart.

Luke left for the Bachelor party shortly after I got back, and the house was buzzing with all 5 kiddos awake and running around.

There wasn't a lot of time to lounge around (my preferred way to spend weekend mornings, especially when my sis is in town!).  The kids were  excited to get to Grandma and Grandpa's however, so they were very helpful about getting the house cleaned up and their stuff ready to go.  As I was getting ready in the bathroom Cora decided a little hot pink lip gloss suited the occasion.  My girls love any sort of chap stick, lip gloss, or lip stick.  Cora is getting to the point where most of it actually lands on her lips, while Sylvie still tends to be covered nose to chin.

All packed up and ready to go.  Megan and I set a goal to leave at 9, and we were on the road at 9:15...not too shabby if you ask me!

Before we were even in the door at Grandma and Grandpa's Ean was requesting pancakes.  As you can see within 15 minutes of arriving they were indeed eating pancakes.  At Grandma and Grandpa's pancakes are always topped with sprinkles, and today whipped cream.

Grandma and Grandpa will have their hands full (literally) with a 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8 year old!  Megan and I left with hugs and kisses and wished them luck.  It's not often that I leave my kids, and it's even less common for it to be over night.  I'm always filled with a mixture of excitement at the prospect of adult time, worry, and missing them like crazy.

It looks like they had a busy fun filled weekend.  Playing outside, with tents, and flying Grandpa's helicopter in the garage!

Megan and I headed back to my house where we spent an hour or so power cleaning.  Megan shares my husbands affinity for piling as she cleans.  I, however, am anti-pile.  I tend to leave things until they are dealt  with and then put them away in their forever home.  I am in full agreement that the piles look much nicer, but 3 weeks later when I'm finding that bill that hasn't been paid or a school paper rising from the abyss, it becomes clear that the pile system doesn't work for me. 

Meanwhile, at the Bachelor party the guys were spending the day shooting at the gun range and 4-wheeling.

The girls met up at 3pm at the winery for wine, appetizers, and some less muddy fun.

We continued on to Canvas and Chardonnay for more wine and silliness, and of course the painting of a masterpiece.

By now the giddiness of having a girls night out with no kids had set in.


We couldn't resist the Bob Ross photo op.  We frequently watched Bob Ross's "The Joy of Painting" on PBS with our Grandpa Trachta when we would visit.  I'm sure both Bob and Grandpa would have been proud of our artistic abilities ;)

The rest of the night we spent celebrating the Bachelorette at a few of the local establishments.  We finished up the night back at our house for a good old fashioned slumber party :).