Thursday, August 23, 2012


Basically, once school started, I abandoned my "Instagram-a-day" project that I took on for the summer.

Don't act surprised.  You knew that was coming.

Me too.

Alas, I am still snapping pics.  Now, I will throw all those pictures into one post and call it "Blogging".

Here are my sweeties on the first day of school:

I can't get over how old they look!  My Little Man is clearly going to pass up his sister in the height department soon.   Considering she's in the 4th grade, that's one big first grader!  They both had a great first day and first week.  It was the honeymoon phase, and I knew it.  I soaked up every second of them telling me about their teacher, how fun it was to reunite with friends, and even the school lunches were raved about.

The first week was only three days.

We are in the second week now, and the honeymoon is over.  Homework has been assigned,  they're already tired of their lunch choices, and they've realized that recess isn't hardly enough time to get in all the socializing they want to do.

Meanwhile, just when I think that The Little Man is all grown up and ready to pick out a major, I see this before school:
 What? You don't know what that is?  It's me trying to sneak in a picture of my boy playing Legos before carpool comes.  I suspect he is laying down because it's a little early for a kid who was used to waking up about an hour and a half later just a mere few days before.  Nevertheless, my heart was warmed to see him still being a little kid again.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself with the whole "My youngest is now in school all day, and I have no more babies at home" thing.  Sure, I squeezed out a few tears.  Hey! It's the beginning of a new era...which means an old era has finished.  That's sad...and happy.  However, go back to about the April time frame of this year, and I was a bawling mess just thinking about it.  Like I said in my previous post, by the end of this summer, we were all ready to head back.  This helped me keep it together.

So, what did I do with some of my "free time" (haha, right), I went and got a hair cut! It was pretty nice to not have to arrange childcare or to be in a rush  because I had to pay said child care.  So, I just sat back and got a trim.  Then...I had them chop me up some bangs.  I haven't sported bangs since about the tenth grade, so it's taking some adjustments on my end, but I feel like they're workin' for me.

Self-portraits ALWAYS make you look your best, right?
 That weekend, we all went into party mode.  I went to a ladies retreat, The Hubs had a date with a golf course (and some clients), and the kids made an appearance at their cousin's third birthday.  I snuck away from the retreat to see how things were going in birthday party-ville.  They were holding up just fine in the foam pit:

On the way home from the retreat, I was given this beautiful gift:
 Honestly, it was so beautiful, I literally had tears in my eyes.  I was a little tired from our weekend, but also I was (am) so blown away at what a good God we have.  He doesn't have to make our world so beautiful to look at, but out of His great love for us, and because He is so good, we get these types of gifts.  Amazing.

Earlier, this week, I got to go for a hike with my very pampered dog niece.  Here she is sporting her hiking boots.  Yup, she's smiling.  Just like most women, she loves a good pair of shoes.

Finally, today was the beginning of our latest construction project.   The back yard.  We've been in this house for almost nine years now.  The backyard has been totally neglected since we've moved in.  I mean TOTALLY FORGOTTEN.  Remember how our deck fell off the house?  Ya.  After we replaced the deck this spring, it really made the rest of the yard look horrible, at best.  All summer we've talked and planned, and talked, and planned.  Finally, out of nowhere, we got brave and pulled the trigger.  The crew showed up  this morning (after making the decision only yesterday), and started getting to work.

And it got "Real".  Real fast. 

There's no turning back now.

I hope to have some "after" photos soon!  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Soaking Up the Very Last Drops

I knew this day was coming.  It seemed to come so quickly, yet it took forever too.  The very last day of Summer Break.

This break has been a bit different than summer break's of years past.  Not sure if it was the need of The Girl to be with her friends more, thus, her family less, or maybe it was the ease at which boredom seemed to settle in.  While we enjoyed our break, the down time, and all the freedoms that summer brings with it, it's time.  It's time to head back to school, see friends, and find routine again.  It makes me sad, for sure.  However, I recognize that some summers are just like this.  Next summer will be different.  Also, it makes what tomorrow brings much more bearable.

As a last ditch effort to soak in as much summer as we could, we headed to the pool, of course!  Turns out, I'm not the only mom on the block that had this brilliant idea.  Lots of kids, lots of moms, and lots of trying to fit all the fun you can into one afternoon.

Today was one of the few days we didn't have friends with us at the pool.  That left a delicious amount of time to sit quietly (well, as quietly as you can with a pool full of children), and read (Have you read The Book Thief yet?  It's pretty amazing.).

Even The Little Man took some time to himself instead of choosing to swim.
When you choose to read instead of swim, it's a sign. Summer break must be over.

First and Fourth grade, here we come!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Portrait of a Self Portrait

Her first self-portrait was of her new hair cut.  She got rid of about three inches of straw hair.
The Girl has inherited my old iPhone as a way for her to "practice responsibility" before we let her spend the money she saved for a new iPod touch.  All summer she has been saving for an iPod touch because, according to her, every last one of her friends and kids in her class have one except her.  I found out, recently, that about two kids she knows have one.  However, she saved and worked for the money all summer long, and that is what she wanted.  She has even denied herself buying gum and candy when we go to the store since it would mean that she would be a dollar farther away from her goal.

So, it begins.  A child that can download apps, play games, and take as many self portraits as she likes.

As long as we stay away from the texting and phone calls, I think I'm OK with it.

I think.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"I'm So Tired of This Pool Thing..."

...Said no one, ever.

We enjoyed the pool with some friends for, what might be, our last time this summer. 

I'm not so sure I'm ready for school to start again next week.

Or ever.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Engineering and Art

While The Little Man is busy becoming an expert Lego engineer at Lego Camp, The Girl worked on her artistic side at a glass fusion art class.

It looked like so much fun, I wanted to pull up a chair and get to work myself. 

OK, I admit, I did look for an adult class for The Hubs and I to take for a future date night. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We Shut 'er Down

We made on last trip, for this summer, to our favorite little water park.  Since it was the last time this season, we made sure it was a good one, and stayed until it closed.

Until next year.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In Honor of Lego Camp, The Olympics and the Color Blue

While The Little Man was away for his first day of Lego Camp, The Girl and I snuck out for pedicures.  As The Little Man would say, "My dogs were barking" after my race yesterday, so I needed a little pampering.

In honor of the Olympics, I got gold toes (with a black background (for contrast, of course)) and because The Girl loves blue, it was blue with blue sparkles for her.

Looking forward to a few more mornings with just The Girl and I.

Monday, August 6, 2012

It was a "Tri" Weekend

This weekend,  our family was involved in two Triathlons.  It was the first time any of us have participated in this type of race. 

The kids went to their first "Try-athlon" on Saturday. This involved a 25m swim, 1 mile bike, and a half mile run for The Little Man, and The Girl completed a 50m swim, 1 mile bike, and a half mile run.

The night before we had to prep ourselves with a pre-race pep talk:
This might be my most favorite picture of the summer.

Then the morning came,  and the athletes were ready. 

OK, maybe not.  Turns out they had to be up at 6 am to make it on time for their heats.  That's pretty difficult to do when you've been sleeping in all summer long.  Oh well.  The friends that raced with us made it so much easier:
The Female Athletes

The Male Athletes
Once they hit the water, there was no stopping them.  The Hubs and I were seriously impressed with their skills.  They both killed it.  The Girl was even in the top of her division (you know, my girl who hates competition and all things sports related?  Yes, that girl. She was even interviewed by a local news channel!)  I think the Olympics have motivated them in a whole new way.  (By the way, The Girl let me know that if she can't be an Entomologist, then she definitely will be in the Olympics.   Hey, I'm just thankful that she has a back up plan.)

Yesterday, it was my turn.  I've never done a triathlon, but my sister has, and she convinced me earlier this summer that I needed to get in on it.  It turns out that two out of the three of my sisters competed yesterday in the Tri-For-A-Cure event, so it was a family affair. 

Training for a tri is very different than preparing for a road race (obviously).   I felt like I could train five to six days a week without hurting my body.  Since swimming and biking are non-impact, I rarely woke up sore.  I had a great time doing different things each day, and since they were newer sports for me, I often saw a great improvement each time.  For me, this was/is highly motivating.  I was not seeing this with running, at all.  I had a goal to finish in under two hours, and am happy to report, that I did just that, and then some.  It's been a long time since I've raced, and an even longer time that I've felt that good after a race.  I can't wait to do it again sometime.

Here we are, pre-race, showing off our ink:

My sister and I are weenies and opted for wet suits for the swim portion.  I'm so glad we did! While everyone said the water was great, I thought it was mighty cold.
My sister is working her wet suit. Yes.  She is single.

See!  We are all still alive afterwards.  It was a challenge, for sure, but so fun!  

Next year: All four girls are going to rock this race!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Last Minute Lessons

Before school starts back up again, I thought it would be fun for The Girl to have a few more piano lessons.   Can you tell from the picture how last minute these lessons were set up?
 At least they had a keyboard this time.  When we showed up earlier in the week, there was none to be found.  This time, no music stand.  We'll see what Tuesday's lesson brings...

Friday, August 3, 2012

All Good Things Come to an End

As I look at my flower baskets (which I have babied all summer long, due to forgetting to water them one time, and they practically died on me (So what if the day I forgot it was 105 degrees.)), which are slowly fading day by day,  I think they are reminding me that my beloved summer season is also coming to an end.

How is it possible that we have less than two weeks left of Summer Break?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

At Least I Made It To August

I was so determined to do well with this "Photo-a-Day" challenge this summer.   Then I got lazy.  First, it was not posting but still taking pictures, then I stopped taking pictures.  I think I have gotten back on the wagon.

For now.

Over the weekend, The Hubs and I got to celebrate our anniversary at our favorite anniversary restaurant.  I think we've gone there about four out of the twelve years?  Anywho, it never disappoints, and this time, someone came and took our picture.  While the date on the card they made for us isn't our anniversary, it works.  Plus, it's better than a picture of all of the food we ate, or, better yet, us eating the food.

On Tuesday, we hit up a zoo that is in the city my sister lives in.  It's a bit of a drive and much smaller than the zoo we normally frequent, but it was a nice change of pace.  Hanging out with the cousins was an added bonus.

  While that last picture is a picture of my kids with a bear, I don't think it quite compares to "our bear".  We miss that guy.

While most of the day yesterday involved staying in our jammies, we did get dressed to take in a cupcake decorating class. While I was a little less than impressed (hey, you get what you pay for and this was a "Groupon" type event), the kids still had fun, and I guess that's the whole point.
Here's The Little Man not listening to instructions (See the concentration The Girl has.  She is such a good listener.).  He told me right from the start that he wasn't going to make any puppy dog cupcakes (that was the theme of the class).  He wanted to do his own thing.  I was so shocked by him not conforming and not following the rules, like he normally does, that I had nothing to say.  I just watched him do it.

The Girl getting started with her base layer of butter cream:

The Little Man getting ready to get wild:

The Little Man's finished products.  Nothing recognizable.  His goal was to use all the colors and all the frosting tips.  Period.

The Girl followed directions for a while, then she too went rogue.   She was interested in making flowers. 
What can I say,  I had a rebellious group on my hands.

I'd rather they take it all out on the frosting than in school in just a few short weeks.