Quick Takes

Friday, September 16, 2016

1. Our girls did a fantastic job at their volleyball game last night! I'm pretty crazy about these chicas...the team this year is 80% of my homeroom plus a few more older darlings. Isn't it great how they can go from cutesie pose mode to warrior beast mode (and then back again!) so quickly? 

2. Also, we're actually getting into the swing of having FOUR little Hallfords hanging out on the sidelines. We went from school to a staff meeting to the dance studio to the gym and then home to dinner and bed with minimal angst. Don't mind me, I'm just the crazy girl who hauls her dozens of children everywhere she goes! 

3. In less fun Flint athletics news, we had to cancel this year's football season. SAD FACE. (wait, those emoi-replacing all-caps maybe sounded sarcastic? Totally sincere all-caps here. I loved having football.) Hopefully we'll have enough players again next year!

4. Avalon had a doctor appointment first thing this morning, which we stretched out into a Target-and-sundry-other-errands sort of morning, just the two of us. It was awesome. And much needed, I think. Especially since we're at what I consider to be the end of an era: she has officially decided to no longer dress the same as her sisters. I KNOW. I've always made a point of telling them that they don't have to match...and they always say how they want to, and I'm always glad because it's cute and I only have to plan one outfit each day and they're really easy to find in a crowd. But now she wants to wear different outfits and she's getting all individual and grown and her own person and everything. It's a moment. HOWEVER, would you like to know what instigated this moment?

5. Yeah. It was a boy. A boy told her that he thought she should dress differently than Lainey, so now she wants to. Hmph. That is all the commentary I will offer. Just...hmph.

6. In other less fun parenting news, Aaron and I spent last weekend enjoying Meanest Parents Ever Since the Dawn of Time status. The big girls wanted to go to the Pinterest Convention. We told them they could earn it by working very hard in class and being very kind and obedient. And then we kept catching ourselves giving warning after warning every day..."If you want to go this weekend, should you really...?" type things. Until Friday, when we realized they actually hadn't been behaving all that well really and then a certain young lady chose to tell a lie (which is the offense I can tolerate the absolute least, as a matter of fact) and wait, WHY were we working so hard to help them earn a reward? Sorry, no. 

7. They were hideously upset, but they also responded really well to the conversation we were able to have about how very wrong it would be for Mama and Daddy to let them grow up believing that you can only halfway put forth the effort needed to achieve something and then still have it handed to you. So...it was a good thing, I guess? Someday my children may possibly see it that way. Or maybe they'll just cherish this bitter disappointment for years and then run away to become Pinterest Con roadies and that's not a thing and if it was I have no idea what it would actually involve, but I'm going to go ahead and picture them running around dressed as giant Mason jars filled with glitter, crock pot recipes, printables, articles on the Top Ten Ways To (fill in the blank), seasonal craft projects, elaborate cupcakes, and budget DIY everything in the whole universe.

So basically a win-win, amiright?

Back to School

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Because you have to start eighth grade with a class selfie! I love getting to be the eighth grade homeroom teacher (because eighth graders are awesome) and this year I love it even more. This little group is so much fun!

In my opinion the first day of school absolutely is a holiday and you'll never convince me otherwise. My kids agree, fortunately. They were slightly excited to start school yesterday.

(Phoebe was excited about it, honestly, she was just also very excited to be eating breakfast and wouldn't stop for a picture)

No one wanted a Frozen backpack this year! Wonders will never cease! Also, I wised up and asked each of them what kind of backpack they wanted separately so as to get their own actual opinions.

Tristan started nursery class with GiGi, which means he isn't with me all day every day, which means I am super emotional. He doesn't mind being dropped off at all, but when they stop by my class for a visit he wraps his arms around my neck and clings like a little monkey, so I think he misses me a little bit too. ALSO Phoebe started pre-k! She's been incredibly impatient for this day, but felt a little overwhelmed when we actually were going in the building.

She cheered up pretty quickly, though!

This is the first year that I've managed to get all my tinies settled into their places before I technically needed to be in teacher mode for my older babies in the upper school. I guess four years of experience will do that!

The upper school had an assembly with Dr. Flint first thing, and then went to homerooms. 

(Those are First Day of School muffins and I only make them once a year because, again, I'm convinced this is a holiday. They are spice cake mix and cinnamon-sugar glaze and apple butter filling and Tristan stole one at the end of the day and wouldn't relinquish his grip, oh no ma'am, it's MINE ALL MINE NOW!)

I didn't start any of my books in my classes...we did some review ANI columns and ate muffins and enjoyed seeing each other again. The kids think that we didn't really "do much" in class because it was the first day (probably they think that because I said it to them) but there was all manner of sneaky groundwork-laying and adjustment-making and observation going on to help the REST of the year go smoothly. And also, I really missed them all!

My eighth graders reported back at the end of the day that upper school is very different from the grammar school and they like it, but it's still kind of overwhelming and they miss Mrs. Hobby. My babies reported back that SCHOOL IS AWESOME WE LOVE IT WOOHOO, etc. and included lots of "Thank you, God, for our teachers" in their bedtime prayers. I had to rock Tristan forever when I put him to bed, not because he was fussy, just because I missed him so much and he had fallen asleep rubbing a handful of my hair on his face while I read Winnie The Pooh to him and I hated to move.

And then I went to bed as soon as I finished the girls' bedtime story because Aaron had a fantasy football draft and I had been up since four in the morning. But it was a really great first day of school and I think it's going to be a wonderful year at Flint!

Summer's Lease

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
And summer's lease hath all too short a date

It's the last day of August, we're in the middle of our teacher in-service week, and I'm about to switch out our pool bag for our football game bag. The girls have finished their summer workbooks, which I officially love. If you go to Flint you're going to hear ALL about how much I love them and how much I think you should do them come next May. 

We also finished our bedtime chapter book, The Horse and His Boy. We've been reading through the Chronicles of Narnia since Tristan was born...I've read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to every single one of my newborns (because you have to do SOMETHING while you're sitting and rocking baby for hours on end, and mine are all used to me reading aloud from the womb, so it calms them down) and this time the older girls got hooked in and wanted ALL the Narnia, all the time.

We didn't technically "finish" our summer bucket list, since there are a few things we didn't get to, but my OCD is surprisingly okay with this! I think because flipping out and trying to force activities just so I can check them off of my list isn't exactly summer-chill, which would kind of defeat the purpose. Where this mental health and clarity is coming from, I can't imagine! Probably it's largely thanks to the fact that Tristan, at seven months old, is STILL determined to be my non-sleeper, so I can't get all crazy and project-y during naptime. Naptime is my own sacred time to catch up a little on sleep, and let me tell you I have missed it hard already this week! 

Here is our list:

And here is (partially) what that looked like:

It was one for the books, y'all!

"Winds in the East, Mist Coming In...

Monday, August 15, 2016

...Like something is brewing, about to begin. Can't put me finger on what lies in store, but I feel what's to happen all happened before."

So, a weird thing about me! The weather affects my mood hard. All kinds of weather, all kinds of moods. Sort of like a frog barometer, but also sort of like a mood ring. Very much like a crazy person. But y'all. This weather right now! Having a rainy week with highs in the 80's in August? In TEXAS? Magical, right? Almost overnight we went from somewhat-successfully frying an egg on our sidewalk (it was really more like baking than frying) in 104 degree sunshine to playing in the rain with cousins until the thunder got too intense.


I keep pulling up the weather app on my phone to gloat over the forecast. Is that weird? I think it might be weird, but there you go. It just feels so heavenly outside and it somehow kicks me into a different state of mind. The end of summer is suddenly more acceptable and I want to start thinking about school things and schedules and lists and everything. I can start thinking about it all, whereas before my mind just kept wandering away. 


I'm not so crazy as to think that it won't heat back up, but I am crazy enough that the change in the weather was just the nudge I needed to get excited about resuming athletics and academics and all of that. This summer has been perfect, but I'm suddenly okay with it ending, and I wasn't until the temperature dropped. And happily, we still have this week and next week before inservice start at Flint, so there's this whole best-of-both-worlds thing going on right now. The kids and I spent an entire rainy morning snuggled up in bed watching movies (and eating Pop-Tarts, oh the crumbs on our sheets!) in our pajamas because why not!


Today we went swimming even though it was raining. There wasn't any lightning or anything, and my little crew thought it was THE coolest thing imaginable.



But I won't pretend it was entirely for their benefit. One of my favorite things in the world these days is Tristan's poolside naps, and I'm not about to miss any if I can help it. Next summer he'll be too big for a morning nap, and I love our time snuggling while I stretch out and watch the girls swimming.


I mean, just look.


Pretty soon school will start and the pool will close and we'll have all kinds of new adventures...until then we're going to snuggle in the rain as much as possible while I make checklists and lesson plans up in my head.

Now We Are Six: Lainey-Girl Style

Thursday, August 4, 2016

This sweet girl turned six last week. My beautiful, tender-hearted, loving little old soul...isn't she perfection? 


Her actual birthday was a few days before her party, so we spent the day doing Lainey things. "It's kind of like I'm the boss for the day, isn't it?" she says. "Because I'm the birthday girl." Which is a big deal if you're always having to compromise on everything with a bossy older sister and a feisty little sister, I would imagine. We had funfetti pancakes with whipped cream and syrup and maraschino cherries and a happy birthday candle, then swimming with the whole gang, then lunch (chicken nuggets and french fries, as requested!) followed by HER choice of Netflix shows...then ice skating (well, wearing ice skates near the rink, if you want to get technical) and Starbucks with GiGi and Avalon, and later a big spaghetti dinner and a "kids movie night" viewing of Inside Out. And not even one little bitty tiny smidge of the dreaded Birthday Child Bratties that can be so easy to fall into when you're kind of like the boss for the day. Lainey-girl just basked in the privilege.


Her actual party was on Saturday, at a fancy, girly tearoom. She got a bit overwhelmed and deer-in-the-headlights at all of the attention being focused on her when she was unwrapping presents, but only for a minute. The rest of the time was all sparkle-tastic! to use her description. 

Bookworms and Beaches and Babies, Oh My!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tristan and I have been home from our Charleston adventure since Monday evening, but we had fun and it must be blogged! Regardless of the fact that if we're friends on Facebook you've probably already seen like, a hundred percent of these pictures! It doesn't matter! Just look at this delicious baby nerd of mine some more! Loooooook!

In a lot of ways it was kind of a crazy trip, what with room mix-ups and practically everyone in our group getting sick at different points, and trying to be all academic and focused while jiggling a five month old. But going on this trip was my birthday present from Aaron and I tried my best to enjoy every minute of it and not focus (ha! I think I probably whined more than the baby! THAT WAS MY BEST, OK I'M JUST WHINY ITS HOW I COPE) on annoying things sinus infections and sleep deprivation. And it was very enjoyable! 

I know it was definitely impractical, but I just couldn't stand the thought of leaving Tristan for a week. He flew like a champ again, really only fussing while my mom and I worked on getting him and all of our stuff situated before take-offs. And seriously? Traveling with a charming, flirtatious little baby is the best. My child looooooves people, and he turns on this grin that could light up a small town, melting hearts every which way. I'm reasonably certain that his smile is the reason we managed to get switched at the gate to a more convenient flight home. Totally made up for having to be THOROUGHLY patted down because I didn't want security opening up his pre-made formula.

We had some extra time in Charleston, which is so, so gorgeous. And humid! I thought I was plenty used to heat, living in Texas and all, but yeesh. Walking around downtown and looking at all those amazing Colonial-era buildings, I was a little bit in awe of the fact that people used to live in them without AC. And they wore lots and lots more clothes. Just...how?

Crazily, Jill and her family happened to be in Charleston the same week! When we realized this (thank you, Facebook!) we met up for coffee and let the boys play (read: babble and try to grab each others heads) while we fit four months worth of conversation into an hour and a half. It was awesome. 

The conference itself was Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The theme this year was Home, which was perfect! I felt awfully stressed out on the first day because I didn't want Tristan to disturb anyone and I kept having to whisk him out (or pass him off to my mom) and listen to the talks from the foyer. I kept feeling guilty for every squawk he made AND every word that I missed, which didn't leave me any options, exactly. Then I remembered that I came here for FUN and should just enjoy the bits that I could hear and not worry about the rest. Much better that way, and I learned a lot in those bits and pieces anyway!
The third year apprentices had our graduation at the banquet on Friday night. I can't believe I'm officially finished with this program! I was so scared to attempt it and it's been just the best thing in the world for me. I've learned so much and connected with such wonderful people...and edged out of my cozy little comfort zone quite a bit at the same time!

After the conference ended a bunch of us headed out to a condo on one of the islands near Charleston for some beach R and R. I was so worn out from being sick and trying to make sure Tristan was well-behaved and everything that when we arrived I absolutely crashed. My mom took Tristan to the beach and I took a heavenly, glorious nap. I woke up a million hours later, the best kind of disoriented because where am I...hey, there's the ocean!

Actually, that kind of set the tone for the beach portion of the trip...I think I napped every time the baby did!

But we also spent plenty of time out by the water, and relaxing with some of my very favorite people. It was lovely!

And then we flew home and thanks to Tristan and his charming ways we got back hours and hours earlier than planned so I got to spend time with my baby girls before scrubbing them thoroughly ("Did you take plenty of baths while I was gone? Did you brush your teeth every day?" "Nope! Daddy didn't make us!" "OH YES I DID!") and tucking them in bed. 

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