30 August 2012

Off to work I go...

Last night I got home from a meeting at church to find both kids with red eyes and noses.  Apparently, bed time brought lots of tears last night.  Poor Kayci ended up crying herself to sleep.  Poor Daddy probably would have liked to do the same!  It's like this every year the night before my first commute day--you'd think by now it would be easier.  I think having a "real" summer with the knuckleheads this year is making the transition even harder, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I'm grateful that it worked out that I didn't have a Wednesday work day this week (Mom's move went GREAT yesterday!), and today should be a great day at work.  I know once they get to school, the kids will have great days, too.  

But maybe take a minute to pray for them and DaddyBoy this morning...hoping they won't need it, but just in case.  

Next week will be easier, and before long, they won't even know I'm gone on work mornings.  

29 August 2012

Back to School Fun

The past few days (weeks!!) have been a whirlwind, but I'm grateful to note that we've been having a blast. Our kids were SO ready for school, and that made for a fairly graceful transition. Of course, I didn't count on having an ear infection (day 9...seriously?), but it hasn't slowed us down *too much*--well, I did go to Kayci's Meet the Teacher totally high after a potent pain shot, but that's another story. Hope nobody noticed...

 Back to school this year meant entire new wardrobes for both kids, thanks to summer growth spurts. As some of Noble's summer clothes have been around for 4 of his 5 summers (that's right), we can't complain. Kayci was thrilled that Grandma offered to help pay for the Nikes of her choice (frankly, so was our budget!).  I cannot tell a lie...I just don't dig the black shoes.  But Kayci feels like a dancer in them (she must, she's forever twirling and leaping in them), so that's all that matters.

We ordered these bad boys back in July, thinking we could splurge since Bubby wouldn't need a whole bunch of new clothes. Ha!

Part of getting ready around here is getting their binders ready. I let Noble design his own this year, even though I was totally going to rock the Ocean Treasures theme. Sigh.  The binders have really been life-changing, seriously--wish I had thought of this before I started with the ginormous box of Kayci art that I've been meaning to scrapbook/organize for YEARS now.  So, if you learn one thing from my blog:  go get a 3" binder.  Right now.  Every single day, put your kids' stuff from school in the binder.  Clean it out a few times a year.  Go on, now...

Kayci got right to work, and literally worked for hours. I love that kid!  Her finished binder is duct tape-tastic...my kids are still addicted, after a year.  Who knew duct tape would turn out to be such a fun craft material?  My dad would be so happy!

We totally sucked at our goal of starting to go to bed and wake up at school times as of August 15th.  We were back from Kansas by then, but we went to Houston and Mom retired and...well, we just had other things to do.  Like stay up late.  So, we knew this weekend needed to be really laidback so we could really, really be ready for school on Monday.

Sunday after church we had a treehouse picnic, then a quick nap before...

...one last summer swim. Luckily, though, we get to swim through the end of September. Swam after school yesterday, as a matter of fact!

We had friends over for dinner (James made some YUMMY rosemary chicken and roasted vegetables--simple, awesome, and we fed 10 people for less than $10).  That's pretty cool!  Too bad we didn't take any pictures of that.

The kids had a hard time going to sleep, understandably, but they finally did.  I got up at 5:00 on Monday to get the week started right.  I'd promised Kayci I'd bake back to school cupcakes for the first day, so I got right to work.  We didn't do any decorating or anything--that's been done since August 1st.  Look in the picture below, though--Noble finished breakfast first so he grabbed my phone and went around taking pictures of "school stuff."  :)

Here's Kayci with her chalkboard cupcake...I bet the tictac chalk was nasty, personally, but the kid loved the idea in Family Fun and just had to have them.  If you want one, think we still have like 10 of the 16 we made.  Come on!  Oh, and I had the bright idea to tape 2 containers together to make a cupcake holder...didn't take into account how much her lunchbox would get tossed around before lunch.  Bitty told me her cupcake looked nothing like this by the time she ate it, but it was good, anyway.  (And yes, the tictac grossed her out.  Ha!)

First day lunch...Kayci requested make your own pizza, a cupcake and assorted fruits and veggies.  I've gone back to buying bread at the store, but that's about the only processed food we'll put in the lunchbox.  (Besides, you know, the box cupcake with candy and a cookie on it.)  It takes a little more time to prep real food, but I feel so much better about what she's eating when her lunch is healthy.  Oh, and it turns out there are 4 girls who have Kayci's lunchbox this year.  Luckily, only two of them have Ks on them, she says.

Even though we were up early and everyone hustled, we were still rushing to get the picture taken and get to school on time.  I have to say, looking at the lineup of first day pictures, Daddy's photography has improved tremendously over the years.  This year's pictures were definitely the best!  I can't believe we've had that rope on the door for so long...but can't get motivated to change it.  Maybe I'll break down and order a fun monogram, finally!

Noble wanted Icees for an after-school snack on the first day, so we picked Kayci up and headed to WalMart.  I was more than happy to go, so we could pick up their pictures.

I know this isn't a great picture of the buffet (which is my next decorating project, ideas welcome!), but you get the idea--it's fun to look at Kayci's first day of school here, when she went off to the 3 year old class.  Then the next year we thought she was so big to go to the 4 year old class every single morning...and then Kindergarten...I'll never forget that morning, our big girl crying...or the next morning, when she woke us up at 4 AM wondering when she could go to Krause...oh, that kid.

Other than the very first morning of kindergarten, I don't know that she's ever cried or even been really anxious about school.

We've had more years when we only bought a few things for back to school than years where we've had to re-outfit everyone.  It's not about the clothes, and the shoes--even though those things are fun, and a blessing when you can get them.

Each first day of school is a reminder of who's not here to celebrate with us, and what our family looked like when Kayci started kindergarten.

Each first day of school is a reminder of my own anxiety on that first day at Krause, and truly, truly trusting the Lord that my baby would walk out of those school doors at 3:15 and be okay.

Each first day of school is a reminder that the first days are numbered...in a blink of an eye, it'll be the first year of college, then their babies' first days...life is short.

Each first day of school is a reminder that many kids don't look forward to school...many families we know have their own issues with school, learning, placements--you guys are in our prayers.

This first day of school, looking at all the first day pictures on the porch of the little green house...it's bittersweet, knowing that there won't be many more here.  Our family has outgrown this little home, even though it's still a perfect fit for our budget.  But that's another day.

It's not about the pictures, or the porch, or the decorating, or the cupcakes, or the lunches.

The real blessing here is that we have two healthy children (who also happen to be beautiful, but that's just gravy, right?) who love school, and who have been blessed with great schools, great programs, great teachers, great friends, and a great community.  All that other stuff that makes fun pictures and fun memories, that's extra...and I'm so, so grateful for all of the extra that we have.

As we celebrate a new year, I'm counting my blessings.  There are too many to name.

One of them I'll share, so you know what's going on:  today, my Mom is moving to Brenham.  Please pray for a smooth transition for her.  I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see how God moves in her new life.  My prayer is that it's everything she hoped, and so much more.

14 August 2012

No place like...

...home. We had a great trip, and loved every minute of it, but there's just something about showering in our own shower and sleeping in our own bed. Sweet dreams!

07 August 2012

Swift Kick in the...Pride

I've said it before and I'll have to say it again--pride is such a stumbling block for me.

There's an issue I've been wrestling with for years, an area of my life that is very confusing and causes so much stress and so many bad feelings.

And associated with that is someone who I've not spoken to in years, whose name causes my stomach to ache, literally, with regret.

I've been so confused about all this for so long, and Sunday morning at church I finally, finally listened to what that still small voice was saying.


Admit it:  I was a jerk.  Yup--those exact words have been running through my mind since Sunday.  

So simple, but I've overlooked that truth for seven long years, trying to find fault everywhere else.

I was a jerk.

Admitting that to myself was eye-opening, and it led me to a larger truth:  my heart's been wrong for seven years, and I've been wandering, trying to find a path that will lead to happiness and fulfillment.  Wandering is the operative word.

My prayer is that I am able to change relationships that have been damaged by my attitude and ego this past 7 years, and possibly restore the broken friendship.  I don't know if that will happen, or how it would work...but this old friend will be getting a note in the mail from me in a couple of days, and I hope that she will forgive me.  And if she doesn't, that's her right.  But I had to confess and apologize.  Just knowing that has taken a weight off, and I'm heading into the next season refreshed and renewed, with a singleness of purpose that's been missing for way too long.

06 August 2012

Craft Fails, and a Little Fun

My niece is leaving for college this week.  I had a few last-minute projects to wrap up for her birthday and to help her take care of a few details...and it felt like Friday was one LONG craft fail.


She wanted to take her large Audrey Hepburn canvas with her, but can you imagine a 40"ish canvas in a dorm room?  Or in a Honda, for that matter?  So I had the idea that I'd just make her a dorm-sized one.

Fine.  Then I realized I used the wrong picture, and I should have made her dress black.  So I put it in the closet and figured I'd redo it when it got closer to her birthday.  Or, you know, Friday, the week before she left for school.  The kids and I went to pick up spray paint because in the meantime, Keely had requested a Jackie O canvas like the Audrey Hepburn one...only in pink.  So, I thought, sure--what can go wrong?

Um, it could be HIDEOUS.  That's what could go wrong.

And the new Audrey?  Yeah, not sure what I did wrong but the paint just wasn't right.  Sigh.

I had the idea to do a 3rd hanging for the group, so I picked the Coco Chanel quote, "A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous."  I wanted to do something cool, like Keely, so I thought an ombre background would be neat.  Only...it blew onto the ground before it was dry, and I ended up with dirt in the paint.  Bleh.

I wasn't deterred--I made a vinyl stencil of the quote and spray painted it (attempted to spray paint is more like it) onto a chalk/magnet board.  And I didn't get a picture, but it was BAD.  Lesson learned:  why stencil when I could have just used the vinyl I pulled out to make a stencil?  Double sigh.  So, my Boy and I put our heads together and came up with a new idea for the magnet board--a cool scrapbook paper and her monogram, which she is crazy about right now.  But more on that in a minute.

So this is what she ended up with:  a remade magnet board, and an initially-rejected Audrey.

While I was at Keely's last week helping her pack (you know I live to organize--it was like Christmas for me!), we found her laundry bag.  I was all, sure, I can put your name on it, no problem.

Problem:  White fabric paint didn't stand out on the lime mesh.  So we tried pink.  And it didn't really work, so I took it outside and used dark pink spray paint.  Only...I sprayed outside of the stencil.  And the stencil slipped at some point in the process, so the Y was smudged.  And the fabric paint adhered to the paper I'd put in between the mesh layers and even a soaking in the washing machine didn't get it...oh, I wanted to cuss!

So, I ended up running to WalMart and getting a replacement bag, and cutting vinyl to make her name. But, the place where I press the vinyl was closed, so I'll get it done tomorrow and put it in the mail.  Geez.

The whole monogram thing started when Keely asked if I could make a monogram for her new computer case.  I was like, sure--because I always say yes.  It's a sickness.  So, I learned that monograms are harder than they look.  But I figured it out, and I NAILED it.  Ha.  
After a long day of craft fails, it felt good to knock out several vinyl monograms for her.  I went a bit overboard, though, and ended up sitting up for a few hours later than I should have weeding the vinyl.   It was totally worth it!   I also made a few for our cousin (Keely's freshman roommate!), which was fun.  Turns out, Ms are tough in this kind of monogram.  Who knew?

I wanted to do something fun for Keely, so I thought I'd make her a pajama shirt to go with some cute boxers.  So, I did.  And all was well...until I peeled off the wet stencil with ink on my hands and smeared white fabric ink on the shirt.  AAARGH!!!  Thank goodness it's just PJs...

Once we got going talking about what we COULD do with monogramming, vinyl, etc. it was hard to stop.  Keely wanted a monogram for her new lamp, so I was happy to oblige.  She put this one on herself--not bad for her first try!

...and then, like her aunt, Keely went a little nuts with the monograms.

And those are just the pictures she sent me--I suspect there are lots of things in her room that now bear her monogram.  :)  We had such a laugh over the constant stream of photos that James decided to have a little fun at Keely's expense, and posted these photos on her facebook page:

 I won't name names, but somebody actually thought we put those stickers on Bubby while he was sleeping.  Photoshop, friend...Photoshop.

I don't think I'm ready for Keely to go off to college, or Reagan to start high school, or Kayci to start her last year at Krause and Noble to start his last year of preschool...but time marches on, doesn't it?