Weekend Wrap-Up

Monday, August 31, 2015

We start teacher in-service today, so the past few days felt like the Last Weekend before returning to our school-year routine. Aaron and I had a lot of work at the school on Friday, and the girls spent the entire day at their Gran's house. So, zero pictures. None. Saturday, however, generated approximately three gazillion pictures! Aaron was painting his classroom and running fantasy football drafts, but the girls and I went to a lovely, lovely birthday party at a princess tearoom. SO much fun, oh my goodness! Phoebe was super shy for the first few minutes, and refused to have her nails painted (which was crazy, because she's always demanding that I paint her nails, usually while I'm cooking dinner or trying to put her to bed or something) but dropped all pretenses when it was time to pick out a princess dress. Then it was I A PWINCESS! pretty much nonstop for the next two hours. 


It. Was. Awesome! Lainey has already decided that she wants her next birthday there.

We also made it out to Garland for Aaron's grandmother's 90th birthday celebration, where the family sang church songs a capella, inspiring Avalon to solo Let it Go for everyone. Which inspired Phoebe to throw a screaming fit because No! PHOEBE sing it! 
She apologized to Avalon after she calmed down in the next room for a few minutes, then settled for dancing in the middle of the room while everyone else sang.


My focus this weekend was really on finishing all of my organizing and cleaning projects so I could start in-service and focus on school stuff with a clean conscience. You remember this scene from The Incredibles?


That is EXACTLY how I feel. Never mind that we moved last December...I finally unpacked the last box on Saturday, so NOW it's official!


It's strange, last summer I was rushing to get everything clean and organized and put-the-house-on-the-market-able before inservice started. Now we've come full circle and it took exactly one entire year. Moving is kind of the worst, is what I think. Worth it, in this case! But still a dreadful process. There are plenty of decorating, Pinterest-y projects that I still need to do to feel Fully Settled (and really, does that ever end?) but they all involve buying things, which I don't get to do in August, the month where our summer savings always run out and we hold our breaths for those September paychecks. But all of the Things have Places, nice tidy ones, and that was my goal. So much of the stuff from that last wave of boxes went directly from the box to the donation pile, too. WHY was I holding on to it? No really, I'm asking, why? I thought I purged pretty nicely when I was packing all of those things, but clearly I was wrong. 
HOWEVER, my annoyance with my past packing self was totally outweighed by the happy, liberated feeling that came with bundling up all of that stuff and sending it on its merry way!


The girls are now in the throes of a stomach bug, and feel horrible and clingy just in time for me to have to go back to work. Sometimes it feels like they conspire to only be sick when I can't be there to take care of them! I got my snuggles in last night as best I could, though. Hopefully this is a short-lived bug and they'll feel better today - Avalon had it first and she's already fine as far as I can tell.




Quick Takes

Friday, August 28, 2015



1. We had our first home game last night! We had a good crowd show up to support the boys, and some of the cheerleaders went around offering their face-painting services, so we could all look as enthusiastic as we felt!




2. It probably helped that we, you know, WON our first official game! 47-0! I certainly did not have a grumpy, discouraged coach to deal with after last night's game! 



3. I might, however, have had to deal with some slightly grumpy children. After I scrubbed all the face paint off of Phoebe and got her tucked in, Avalon and Lainey had to have a Conversation with me about how they are expected to act at games. Not that they were naughty, really. There was just more whining and nagging than I cared for, especially looking ahead to all of the many, many games we'll be attending this year. I love that we can all snuggle up in Lainey's bed and have these heart-to-hearts. They do so much better when we can sit down and talk something through than when we're out in the middle of a situation and I'm trying to correct their behavior quickly. They internalize those conversations SO much better than my irritated requests to Just Stop Nagging Me To Death, Child! Which is what you get when I'm trying to keep all three of them alive and in one place, watch the game, and have conversations with the other moms, all while being asked six hundred times for a drink when YOU KNOW we drank up all the water bottles already and I'm not sure what else to tell you...go dig a well in the sidelines? Just hypothetically, or whatever.

4.  Still, they're pretty great and I think I'll keep them. Just look at this brave thing! She's started practicing swimming WITHOUT FLOATIES...just holding on to the kick board thing and sometimes even letting go of it and swimming to the edge. She panicked and went under a few times, but never let it scare her, just went right back to it. Check out the determined face - she's not playing around!


 5. And THIS one! Their aunt had her eleventh birthday party at Ripley's Believe it or Not this week, and we were all worried about Lainey going and being freaked out by all the strange stuff - she's my deep, sensitive little old soul, after all, and it can be hard to predict what will upset her. She was determined to go, though, and I decided to let her give it a shot. "I love you, be brave!" I said as they were all leaving, since Aaron was going with them and Phoebe and I were working at the school. Everything went fine, until Aaron texted me that Lainey was refusing to bypass the "fear section" like we had planned because she was Being Brave. And then I don't know exactly what happened because my inner Mama Bear took over and promptly freaked completely out. My text log shows a lot of "DO NOT LET HER GO IN THERE! AVALON EITHER! ANSWER YOUR PHONE RIGHT NOW OR SO HELP ME RAAUURRRGH!" sort of messages until I was reassured that they weren't going in. Which may have been slightly over the top, but I don't think so. That section has a bypass for a reason - it's a horror movie themed waxworks and it scared ME the one time I went. Nope, nope nope! We are not having those nightmares, no thank you!


Still, I'm awfully proud of her. Not too long ago the dark laser maze would have reduced her to tears in less than a minute. Instead, she had a wonderful time and participated in everything - the tornado simulator thing (which is huge, because she tried one of those once and nearly clawed her way out in terror before I could get the door open) and the wax hand dip and everything. It's a challenge, trying to simultaneously protect her sweet, tender heart AND trying to help her enjoy navigating this big, overwhelming world...but it's totally worth it!

6. This. This is what happens when we've been painting and re-arranging and...creating decorative Greek columns out of pool noodles for too long today. 





7. And then we went home and some of the football players appeared to watch game footage and eat watermelon because of course, and really, have I mentioned how much I love this crazy life?


A lot, is how much. A whole lot!




Flint Life: Behind the Scenes

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Most schools are already back in session, I know, so this post might seem a little out of rhythm with the rest of the world. WE might seem a little out of rhythm - everyone else is posting their adorable first day of school pictures and Flint people are still over here like:




We're the worst, I know. But we really, really love our after-Labor-Day start date! 

Our teacher in-service starts next week, though, so we've all been awfully busy up at the school. We've tried all summer to keep everything tidy and presentable so it would look nice for tours, but that's been abandoned at this point. If you toured the school today you would not see much that was "tidy" or "presentable". You might see:

  • The UPS man delivering box after box of office supplies and lovely new books
  • Sweaty teenagers, pressed into service after football practice, hauling empty boxes and various discarded items out to the dumpsters
  • Several people painting various rooms and hallways with pretty, fresh colors
  • Someone installing a kitchen door
  • Someone else installing new flooring in the grammar school lunchroom, hallelujah!
  • The cheer squad huddled with the dance teacher, going over their routines
  • Someone on the phone, taking calls from prospective parents
  • Someone moving furniture and desks
  • Several people laughing. Most of them together, not maniacally and alone in their classroom
  • Someone's dog, sniffing at someone else's dog
  • Someone planning their lessons
  • Someone hanging pictures
  • A dump truck delivering fresh sand for the volleyball court
  • Someone working on the new tire mountain in the playground
  • Stacks of new curriculum waiting to be distributed
  • Storage spaces being cleaned out
  • Someone demanding to know WHY DO WE EVEN HAVE THIS STUFF?
  • Someone wrapping up their summer math tutoring
  • Small children rolling down the hallways on riding toys from the motor lab
  • Other small children brandishing toy weapons
  • Some other small children covered in sand from the volleyball court, where they have been building "snowmen"
  • Yet another one running around in several medieval-looking costumes from the drama room
  • Look, there's some more, "helping" their mama in her classroom
  • Someone forgetting that the bathroom was just painted and they have to use the other one
  • Someone asking her husband to move that heavy cabinet just one more time, HONEST
  • Someone trying to carry in all of their school supply shopping haul in one trip
  • Someone singing along with the radio
  • Someone announcing that they're running to Hobby Lobby, does anyone need anything?
  • Someone furtively turning the thermostat down 
  • Several people putting their heads together to figure out new strategies for specific students
  • Someone trying to find a place to store football equipment
  • Someone struggling with the copier/wifi/technology in general because we really aren't technology people
  • Someone vacuuming 
  • Someone taking a minute to inhale the scent of freshly sharpened pencils
  • Someone feeding all of the animals
  • Someone trying to make out all the upper school student schedules and declaring, as he does every year, THIS ISN'T GOING TO WORK!
  • Someone hiding away from it all in a secret corner of the library, just for a minute
So no, it's not exactly tidy or presentable right now. It's messy and chaotic and a little overwhelming, but it strikes me as absolutely beautiful, too. 















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Weekend Wrap-Up: Photo Dump!

Monday, August 24, 2015



It was one of those weekends that somehow generated SO MANY pictures. I love it. Here's what life looks like around here these days:

On Friday we spent the morning at the neighborhood pool, which was nice and deserted what with so many schools starting last week. We were free to blow bubbles and play music to our hearts content!




In the afternoon we headed over to the school so we could ride with the team to the scrimmage. The girls were thrilled to RIDE THE BUS! For all of ten minutes, and then the older two fell fast asleep. Phoebe stayed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the whole way there, though, making sure to tell me every three minutes that she was RIDING THE BUS! They all perked up once we arrived.




On Saturday the girls slept in late after being out so long the night before, and GiGi surprised them with cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Later she took them to the dollar store so they could spend their chore money, and then out for ice cream sundaes...meanwhile Aaron hauled things to the donation center and I spent the day doing the kinds of chores that make you realize just how destructive kids really are, i.e., cleaning out my minivan and touching up approximately five THOUSAND paint gouges in the boys' room. It's a good thing they're all so cute.



Later we went to my mom's house for dinner and a cousin reunion while my sister and her family were in town. She has three little monkeys too, which made for a very full, very happy, very crazy house!











On Sunday we jammed to the Pandora Disney station all the way to church, where Lainey got to participate in the Kinder blessing since she'll be starting Kindergarten in a few weeks. The pastor showed that bear crawl clip from Facing the Giants (which is the best part of the movie, the part where I always stop making fun of the ridiculously cheesy acting and start making fun of myself for getting chills from such ridiculously cheesy acting) which fit the message beautifully, but irrevocably lost Aaron to obsessive football strategizing. It happens a lot these days!



We hit up Target and did a few more chores around the house in the afternoon...I'm getting a little obsessive about Chores Around the House these days. Luckily for me, Aaron doesn't mind planning football plays while he steam cleans the carpet, and the girls are always happy to earn a few quarters in exchange for whatever tasks I can dream up.

I let the girls stay up until one of their honorary brothers arrived...sadly I didn't get a picture of that reunion. They hadn't seen him since February and when they realized that he was coming home to stay they very nearly hyperventilated from delight. Me too, honestly. With all of last year's boys off to their college dorms, it was getting awfully lonesome around here! 



link-up!

Football!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Last night we had our first ever football game! Which technically wasn't a Game, but a scrimmage, and there is a difference. I'm not sure what. I'm still learning all this football stuff! 








For me this is such a flashback to six or seven years ago when Aaron started the basketball program. For one thing, I don't understand the game at all. I get basketball NOW, but that took a lot of cluelessly watching games, cheering when our side seemed to be cheering, listening to hours of Aaron's post-game analysis, and asking some shamelessly stupid questions. I'm back to that with football, so much so that last night I kept having to remind myself that it was okay (good, even!) for the guys to run with the ball, they weren't going to be called out for traveling. I KNOW, I KNOW. Give me a few years, I'll be screeching out technical-sounding advice with the best of them. I DO know that we definitely scored a touchdown last night. Touchdowns = good. More touchdowns than the other team would = better, but baby steps for us all!

But no, do you remember? When we started the basketball program? And didn't ever win a game for THREE YEARS? And then last year we won the state championship? I remember that. That was fun. It takes TIME to build a sports program. And PATIENCE. And an amazing coach who just won't quit, ever.

(AND a really clueless coach's wife who blindly offers commiseration and encouragement and Context Clue Based Sympathetic Faces.)

Last night I learned that I should never, ever forget to put sunglasses in my bag, because I was essentially staring into the sun for the entire game. Fun! Also, football fields are way bigger than gyms, so when I have the girls with me I will need to remember to bring a little plastic bag for their trash, which kept blowing away all evening. I'm trying to figure out exactly what to put in my Football Games Bag to keep things running smoothly. Such vital ponderings, I know, but that's what you get. Fortunately, I'm finding that it doesn't matter how much of a learning curve there is to the actual sport, game day treats are essentially the same! 




Next Thursday we have our season opener home game (NOT a scrimmage, ahem) so do any of you experienced football mamas and coaches wives have any advice or tips? 






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