Tuesday, September 16, 2014

100 Sleeps til Christmas!

Anyone else freaking out?!

I just realized that there are only 100 sleeps until Christmas. So much to do, so little time! I have no idea how it "sneaks" up on me every year. Somehow in those 100 sleeps, I have to plan and host two birthday parties, decorate for Halloween (because we all know I love me some Halloween!), undecorated for Halloween, host or travel for Thanksgiving, bake cookies, send out Christmas cards, decorate for Christmas, shop, wrap, mail, soccer games, piano recitals, tennis lessons, conferences…. plus all the stuff I am forgetting….PLUS all the other stuff I do on a daily basis that seems to suck the life out of my body each and every day. Seriously, there isn't enough time!

Saying goodbye to a normal sleep pattern until December 26. Bring on the "magic!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

We Made It…Kind of

Well, we survived the first full week of school! 

Charlotte had her first day of preschool and boy was she excited!

The only way I could get a picture showing her excitement was having them jump in place! Two seconds after this picture, I found a HUGE black widow spider about 12 inches away from me on the side of the house! Needless to say, it is no longer a threat and after a quick call to the "spider guy" to kill anything within a 10 mile radius with eight legs, I was told that this late summer/early fall season has been the WORST on record for black widow spiders. Schools, especially, have been spraying like crazy to keep them at bay. So word to the wise, be on the lookout! 

I don't know about you but I thought the back-to-school backpack selection this year was the pits. Anything that was cute and reasonably priced, sold out in July! Both girls starting new schools REQUIRES new back packs in my book and the ones I wanted were on back order until November. Who wants a new backpack in November?!?!? (I am talking to you Pottery Barn Kids! Shame, shame, shame on you!!) Eventually, I found one for Grace but no luck for Charlotte. So instead, I made her this one! It is a bit too small but she LOVES it and it will get her through until PBK hops to it and sends me the replacement. 

 Charlotte practically ran into the classroom. I had to call her back to give me a hug good bye! I swear I could drop her off two blocks away and she wouldn't think twice!

With both girls in school, I hit the gym for my favorite spinning class! 

The week also included piano lessons. The girls took the month of August off so it was the first lesson in a while. Charlotte moved up to the next level in gymnastics and I chopped all my hair off! No photos but me likey. It's been a while since my hairs has been this length and it is much more manageable. When I picked Grace up at school that afternoon, she was the last to be released. The teacher walked over to me and told me that Grace didn't recognize me and kept telling the teacher that she thought it was me, but that I must've gotten a hair cut. Grace, Charlotte and I now look like the bobbsey twins so that's "cool".  The week also included Grace's first soccer game and my first time coaching a soccer game. Other than one of the kids stepping in dog poop five seconds before game time, it went pretty well. Phew! 

In other news, Grace discovered her first loose tooth! 
(Bottom right!)

Can't believe she is about to lose her first tooth. I can remember her getting her first tooth like it was yesterday!

Needless to say, by Friday, I was pooped! 
The changing seasons always gets me and I spent the weekend sick as a dog. I managed one outing for a birthday party. Grace's friend at school has a younger sister Charlotte's age so they were both invited and both excited. 

It was a pop star party and the girls rocked it!
Unfortunately, the party "rocked" me.

Starting out the week a wee bit on the tired, want-to-crawl-back-under-the-covers-and-sleep-for-a year- side, but instead I decided to blog.

You are welcome sports fans!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School 2014 & First Day of Kindergarten

We kicked off heading back to school with some photos. Each girl by the tree we planted for her when she was born. 

Charlotte wasn't into it. 

Grace on the other hand…

Let's do this!

I will cherish this photo in particular of her. 
Every time I look at it, I cry. 

Not happy with how Charlotte's pictures had turned out, I decided to give Charlotte another go. Charlotte was a bit - shall we say - upset over the apparel I had chosen for this little photo shoot. The shirt in particular was not up to snuff. It was too tight around her neck and itchy. 

Ummm….if looks could kill!
My goodness! She REALLY doesn't like that shirt!

But then, a changing of the tides and she warmed up. 

It's a grin. No a smile! Hallelujah it's a miracle!

I was finally able to get a few photos where she didn't look like a kid possessed by a demon!
Phew! Mission accomplished!

{Oh and don't get me started on her haircut. It's been a rough summer around these parts for hair.} 

Truth be told, the only way I got Charlotte to even to pretend to smile was with a bribe. A mom's got to do what a mom's got to do!
A trip to Starbucks for a treat if she would smile and not whine. So as promised….

Our last mid-day, weekday treat break as a threesome.

{On a side rant: Why does Starbucks sell cake pops in the morning? Why does Starbucks sell cake pops…period?!?! Are they really just trying to subliminally tell parents not to bring their children into their stores anymore? If they booby trap the store with crap parents don't want to feed their kids, the parents (in turn the kids) will stop frequenting the stores. Is that what Starbucks is telling us when the set up cake pops in their display at 6 am? I can't tell you how many times I've been in line at Starbucks with a mom and child a few places back and the kid asks for a cake pop and then the mom has to go through the whole song and dance about how cake pops are junk food and that they have to get something else only to have protests and tears from the child. I mean come on Starbucks. Cake pops?!?!? Let's focus on products that you are only mediocre at…like coffee. End of side rant!}

Back to school photos snapped, tummies full, we set off to prepare for our Back to School dinner!

I set up a few little decorations and of course bought a cake! 
As Julia Child once said, "A gathering without cake is just a meeting." 

I made some chalkboard placemats for some school spirit. 

It was a very lovely dinner. Manna and Boppa joined us and the girls got to choose their meal.
They chose pancakes and corn on the cob. 

As a back to school gift, they received an alarm clock. Figured it would help with those early morning wake up calls when it is pitch dark outside.

The next morning, we were up early to meet Grace's teacher. 

The meeting went well and Grace's teacher is very nice. I am confident that Grace will be in good hands!

In the meeting, Grace decided she wants her teachers and friends to call her Gracie but she wants her family to call her Grace. She says it is "more adorable when my friends call me Gracie."

The night before the very first day of kindergarten was Grace's first soccer practice. I and a friend are coaching. Let's just say I earned this beer after practice.

And then it was time for Kindergarten. 
Lunch was packed. 

First day photos taken. 

Drop off was a breeze. She kept saying goodbye even before it was really time for me to go.
I hugged her and she was gone. 

Out the doors to recess. To a whole new world. 
She didn't hesitate. She wasn't scared. She was very ready and that is very comforting. 

It was a little harder for me. 
I sat and watched her play at recess (she couldn't see me) until the bell rang. I saw her find friends and find her way to her classroom. There was relief in seeing her adjust and take care of herself. To be her own little person. 
My words are not right here because I can't describe the way I felt that morning accurately. 
Happy. Proud. Sad. Selfish. 
Excited. Scared. 

I never thought I would be "that" mom that gets all emotional on the first day of kindergarten. I mean it is kindergarten, not war. 

But just as the birth of your first child turns your world upside down, so does the first child going off to school. Everything changes. Your day. The sounds. The lack of sounds. Your involvement. Your lack of involvement. Your ability to know what they did, what they ate, where they went…

It was an emotional day - to say the least. When I was talking to a pregnant friend who dropped off her son at kindergarten that same day as well, I was comforted to know that I was not alone. She'd been a "wreck" too but then again she had pregnancy hormones to blame it on! What was my excuse?!

Her response? 
"Your baby not being a baby anymore is a good enough excuse!"

All I can say is that Charlotte's first day of kindergarten is going to be R-O-U-G-H!
I might even wear all black that day.

Charlotte was a trooper. She wanted to go out to recess with Grace but understood that it wasn't her school and settled for a morning with mom making cookies. 

Charlotte and I had a great day but it always felt like something was missing. 
And it was SO quiet!

How I have treasured these days and years with these two constantly by my side. 
So much of me is sad to see this stage end but I know great things are yet to come. Now I just need my heart to catch up with this logic and we'll be good to go!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 3.0 - Final Days of Freedom

August got away from me on the blog but not in real life. We've been liven' it up in anticipation of Grace starting kindergarten. Kindergarten these days is serious business. All day. Every day. Life will never be the same once she enters those doors.

But before we cross over to the realm of living our lives based on the school year calendar, let's take a look back at August.

We hit the pool with our cousins as often as possible! 

Charlotte continues to practice writing her name. 

I love how she "squares" her "C!" 

Grace is super excited to learn to read and has been devouring #1 level books. We cleaned out the library on this particular occasion and have recently moved on to a few #2s!

Mid-month we had to head to Seattle for some doctor appointments. Court wasn't able to join us so it was a total girls' trip. And it is true what Cyndi Lauper says…girls just wanna have fun!

And fun we did have!

We hit our favorite park near Lake Washington. 

We danced in the waves

and splurged on sweet treats!

This is how much Grace loves Seattle!

I don't blame her…especially during the month of August. There is no place better!

We met Auntie Molly and Kevin for dinner. Charlotte accessorized herself. 

We discovered - quite by accident - a wooded park. It even had a "trail!" We "hiked" it in anticipation of some real hiking to come later in the month. 

Day 2 in Seattle and Charlotte collapsed. 

Grace on the other hand was energized and couldn't fall asleep. 
So I gave her a sewing project to keep her busy…and quiet. 

The next day, we met up with our favorite Seattle friends for a day at the beach! 
This was seriously SO MUCH fun! This is definitely on repeat for next year.

The tide was out upon our arrival which made for great digging and exploring. 

You could tell we were from out of town because all the Seattle kids were clothed while my two rocked their swimsuits. Not exactly Hawaii weather - or beaches for that matter - but it didn't seem to slow them down!

We squeezed in another park meeting with a sorority sister and her three children but a minor accident shortly into our playdate caused them to leave early. Thus, no pictures. Which is really too bad! Note to self: Take photos first. Hang out second. 

And as quick as it came, it was time to leave Seattle. I was REALLY sad to go. I had SO much fun being with just Grace and Charlotte for a few days! They were so, so, so good! We went out for every meal. We left each morning at 8 in the morning and got home about 8 pm. We soaked up every moment and it is a little trip I'll never forget. Especially, since my time with Grace is about to drastically change. 

Home from Seattle, but not for long, we headed to Idaho for some R&R with Court and his parents. 

The weather was amazing. 

So we hit up the playground...

and a cool art fair. They even had a free hat-making class for kids!

The hast were custom fit to each of their heads...

and then they each got to decorate their hat!

Lunch at our favorite joint. Grace drew a picture for their wall. 

It's a moose!

Court packed a picnic and we listened to the symphony perform while we stuffed our faces with
salami, cheese and pate. My kind of picnic!

We harassed some ducks...

but the ducks were onto us. 

Sunsets in the mountains are spectacular.

We took the girls on their first hike (that didn't involve a back pack or some sort of carrying contraption). 

It went well and we were encouraged to do another one before our trip ended!

But first, we needed to jump on this thing!
By "we" I mean Grace and Charlotte. My heart drops into the pit of my stomach on a swing set. 

My phone ran out of batteries so I wasn't able to get any video but talk about LOVE!!
They LOVED this!

We celebrated Court's birthday by going out to dinner. 

Apparently, eating outside on a glorious evening and having to entertain yourself with a sticker book is exhausting. Oh to be a kid again!

Back to the playground. Upon arrival, there was a group of boys playing with a skateboard with no wheels. Grace and Charlotte were fascinated. 

They slowly crept closer. 

Over the course of twenty minutes, they ended up standing right next to the boys just waiting to be acknowledged. In true form, the boys completely ignored them! ha ha!

Dark clouds started moving in so we quickly fed the horses...

The heavens unloaded with lightning, thunder and rain shortly thereafter. Power was knocked out. 

Mountain storms are pretty too.

We snuck in one more hike. 

It was so pretty and it was fun because a lot of the streams and creeks had to be crossed by walking over rocks or a fallen tree. 

They got tired before we hit the "turn around" point.

But they sang and walked the whole thing themselves!

OH!! At lunch, a woman carried this orange purse and I REALLY REALLY REALLY like it! I've been trying to track it like a blood hound but with no luck! If you know who makes it, please let me know!!

Time to head home. 

Grace tends to pack like me - the opposite of light!

A picture out my kitchen window…yes, that's a tornado! 
Like "we aren't in Kansas anymore" tornado. 
Umm…scary. I thought the only "natural" disasters we had around here were fires and Hanford blowing up. Now I have to worry about tornadoes!

I knew they were close…but apparently even closer than I realized!

The girls were excited to attend Cousin Zachary birthday party!

Everybody got two smacks on the piƱata! So perfect!

Once again, they turned the slide into a water slide. 
BIG HIT with the kids!

We got to hang out and swim with our Seattle cousins who we don't get to see nearly enough!
Uncle Greg's roller coaster pool ride was Grace's favorite…much to Greg's chagrin!

Canon balling the kids!

Real mature!

Triple canon balling?!?!
No words!

It's no secret the kitchen isn't my happy place.
But it seems it might be for Charlotte. So it looks like I'll be hanging out there more…with her!

Back to school hair cuts!

Don't tell Charlotte, but her hair cut got totally messed up. Nothing like how I wanted. But what she doesn't know will keep the peace!

I don't think she can take a photo these days without spitting out her tongue. 

Dreading taking the big dogs to the vet. To wear everyone out, I ran them ALL right before we had to go and it worked like a charm! Best vet visit ever!!

The grapes are coming right along! Harvest won't be long now!

Back to Seattle! This time with my side of the family! We hit the locks and longed to be in one of the boats instead of watching from the sidelines. We did get to see the salmon going up the fish ladder though. Almost as cool as being on a boat! ha!

Grace finally found a tree she could climb!

Naturally, Charlotte was in hot pursuit. 

Shopping, eating and splurging on dessert sums up our trip nicely!

Grace "hates" cake! 

Three generations in Seattle. Court and my brother were able to join us for a very special birthday celebration for my dad but of course I got no pictures! I never manage to get pictures on birthdays. It couldn't possibly be the celebratory champagne, could it?!

Home again ready to buckle down for school. By the end of this week, we'll have officially closed one book of the parenting journey and opened another. Hard to believe. *sigh*

Hope you are enjoying these last few days of freedom summer!