September 1, 2015

So You Have A Kindergartner?

Are you guys tired of hearing about Kindergarten yet?

I apologize.

It's just kindergarten is such a big milestone.  Our first BIG one.  Sure there's the first tooth, first word, first steps and those are all BIG, exciting milestones but there's just something about kindergarten that slaps you in the face.  It's in a league all of it's own.

Honestly, I feel like, for years I've been watching other bloggers send their babies off to kindergarten and never really thought about the day I'd be doing the same.  It's one of those things that seems too far away to really worry about but in the blink of an eye it's your turn.

I'm the type of person who doesn't really dwell on or anticipate things much before they actually happen; I tend to just deal with them once they are happening.  I don't know if that's a blessing or curse but I kind of like that about myself.  I like to think it's easier this way because then I'm not making myself ill for days leading up to said "thing" rather I am just forced to make the best of it.



So there were a few things we did to "survive" the first day.  Some were done to help me, others to help her.  I thought I'd share how we are making the most of this transition.

1.  The Lunch Box. So I've seen 5 million and one posts on IG showcasing these amazing lunchboxes and these really fancy organizers.  I can't lie, these lunches made me jealous.  But more than making me jealous they made me feel inferior so I ran to the supermarket in search of a lunch system myself only to find all of them were too big for any one of Kendall's four styles of lunchbox {when your birthday is so close to BTS you get lots of lunchboxes}.  Left to my own devices I thought, "I survived without one of these fancy contraptions and so will she". And I packed her lunch with Ziploc baggies and Rubbermaid containers.  GASP!  But to make hers special I included a little note and a picture of our family taped to the lid.  I thought she'd appreciate that more than a $40 lunch organizer anyway.

2. Something Old.  Kendall loves her little pink blankie.  She's had it since she was a baby and I don't even remember how it became her thing.  She takes it everywhere and, as a matter of fact, it's barely pink anymore instead it's taken on a darker, dingier color that resembles a greyish brown because "it's so loved".  We pack it in her backpack every day.  She doesn't get it out at school but something about knowing its not too far away makes her feel better.  We started doing this when she went to preschool and if it helps her get through the day I'm OK with it.

3.  Ready Confetti.  I so wish I could take credit for this one.  Kendall has the most coveted teacher of kinder, from what I hear.  When we had parent night I could tell that Mrs. Shaffer was good, like really good, so when we found out she had her I was THRILLED.  We may have been on a 4 hour road trip when we found out and we may or may not have done a little happy car dance.  But anyway...on meet the teacher night she handed each of the kids a little baggie full of confetti along with a poem. You were to sprinkle the confetti around your bed the night before the first day and it was going to help you sleep better and wake up excited and ready for kindergarten.  If that's not the cutest thing you've heard of I don't know what is.  Kendall loved this and I thought it was just a darling way for the kids to get excited about their teacher.

4. One High, One Low.  This is something I adopted after the first day and wish I would have done on the first day but you live and you learn.  So her first day was hard for her.  It was a longer day than she's used to and there was some "friend drama" that left her feeling a little upset. There were lots of tears and "I don't wanna go back to kindergartey".  I realized that maybe I had overwhelmed her with too many, "did you have fun?", "how was lunch?", "did you like your teacher?", "who did you play with?", "how was recess?", "what was your classroom like?",  "who did you sit with?", and so on.  So, now, I am asking her to share one good thing from the day and one "bad"thing and leaving it at that.  If she wants to share more GREAT but I don't want her to feel overwhelmed to share if she doesn't want to.

What are some of your tricks and tips for surviving kindergarten?  Please share below!

August 31, 2015

Catch Up

Since it's been pretty quiet around here lately and I kinda, sorta want to change that, I thought it'd be fitting to update you with my current obsessions.

Currently I am...

  • Watching- Big Brother.  I'm obsessed.  It's my guilty summer pleasure that I look forward to every year.  This year has been pretty uneventful if you ask me.  Vanessa is clearly running the show and will probably end up winning if someone doesn't make a big move and get her out.  Maybe at double eviction this week?  Meg is my favorite, isn't she adorable!?
  • Changing- my hair.  I went SUPER blonde this summer for the first time and I loved it!  It's been so fun and looks great with a tan. BUT fall is upon us and I'm thinking the same bright blonde might not look so hot against pasty, white skin.  Is ombre still "in style"?
  • Dreaming- about a weekend away with my husband.  Our six year anniversary is coming up in October and I'd love to surprise him with a little weekend getaway.  
  • Listening to- Twenty One Pilots- Blurryface.  These guys are local to us and friends of my BIL and just played on the VMA's for the second time last night.  Crazy excited for them!  Any time we're in the car we have them on Spotify. 
  • Missing- our camper.  We started out the summer strong, camping three weekends in less than a month, but sadly haven't been out since July.  I'm thinking we need at least one more camping weekend this year and I think fall might actually be lovely.
  • Praying- for my sweet girl as she transitions into kindergarten.  Friday was her first day and it was a little bit hard on her.  She was very tired and very emotional when she came home and spent most of Friday evening crying.  Praying today {her half day} will be easier on her.
  • Reading- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.  I read Gone Girl years ago and while the ending didn't surprise me, like most, I loved it.  I liked her style of writing and I liked how you didn't know what was going to happen next.  Dark Places is the same dark, mysterious, keep you guessing kind of book.  I'm super into it.
  • Shopping- for fall clothes.  What are some must-have styles this fall?  I usually end up spending all of fall/winter in hoodies so I don't know why I even bother but I like to have a few cute things going into the new seasons.
  • Planning- my next tattoo.  Most of my tattoos are pretty hidden or can be if necessary and this time I'm thinking I want something bolder, more visible...
  • Catching up- on all the VMA drama.  I used to watch that award show religiously and after seeing some headlines I'm glad that is something I USED to do.  My God, what is this world coming to?
  • Cooking- not much.  I'm honestly in a rut with cooking.  Seems like the same ole, same ole every week and meh. I'm thinking about signing up for eMeals again to get me excited about cooking again.  Although with fall right around the corner maybe soups and chili will get me inspired.  Any good recipes to share?
I think that covers all bases.  Hopefully I'll get back to a more regular writing schedule because I've missed this outlet.  I've noticed a lot of the blog "OG's" seem to be trying to get back into the swing of things too and it's making me really kind of excited.  I think everyone kind of needed a break from it all.  From the sponsorships, the #ads, the forced posts, and now everyone is refreshed and has a new perspective and I think that's really cool.  Here's hoping anyway!  Happy Monday, friends!

August 27, 2015

'Twas The Night Before "Kindergartey"

I put my girl to bed for the last time as a pre-k kid.

Tomorrow she starts "kindergartey" and tomorrow starts a whole new chapter of life for us.  For the record, I hope she never stops calling it "kindergartey" because it's the cutest, sweetest, most innocent thing ever.  I know it won't be long and she'll  be saying "kindergarten" so for now I'm not correcting her.

This summer has been one for the record books and will be hard to top.  We've been camping, zip-lining, swimming, to the beach, vacationed with friends, rode four-wheelers, hit up splash pads, took a family vacation, gone boating, played at the park, made s'mores, played with friends, ate way too much ice cream and stayed up late on more than one occasion.  It's been a blast and while it's been busy and we haven't had much at-home time, I wouldn't change it for the world.

Now we will return to life of regularly scheduled baths and early bedtimes.  We will no longer have ice cream for dinner or watch "one more show".  Our laid-back mornings will be traded for packing lunches and "hurry up and eat your breakfast, we have to leave soon"!  Our kitchen table will soon be used for doing homework more than playing with Play-Doh.

As cliche as it sounds, I really don't know how we've gotten to this point already.  As a matter of fact, a year ago I didn't even know if we would be sending her off to kindergarten.  After praying and weighing the pros and cons and talking to her preschool teachers and other moms in the same boat, we decided this is what is best for her and this is what will make her thrive.  She's ready.

After attending two parent meetings at the elementary school I finally feel confident in our decision.  When they talk about the expectations they have for the kids in kindergarten I know she will have no problem.  Most of the goals they have set for them are things that she already learned in preschool.  The one thing I'm most excited for, and she's excited about, is reading.  We've tried working on reading a little bit this summer and she wants to read so badly.  I know with her teachers help and guidance she'll be reading in no time.

She's ready but am I?

It really doesn't matter if I am or not.  This is not about me.  I am here for her and I will put on a brave face for her no matter how badly I want to sob, big, fat, ugly tears when she walks into that class room.  Even the image in my head makes me want to ball my eyes out.  All that matters to me is that she feels safe, secure, happy and confident in her classroom this year.

She's got the best kindergarten teacher in the school, from what I understand.  We met her Monday night and afterward I said, "so how are you feeling about kindergartey {I'm saying it too} now?" and she said, "a little nervous BUT I get my own locket {locker}!!!"  Well...OK baby girl!  If that's what makes you look forward to the first day then YES!  Lockers!!!  But, really, I feel so good knowing she's in good hands, with a teacher who is passionate about what she does and genuinely cares about her students.

At the end of the day I just have to throw all of my fear away and put it in the hands of God.  I pray about it nightly.  I pray that the Lord surround her with teachers and students who will point her towards God.  I pray for her safety.  I pray that she loves others and befriends all those she encounters.  I pray that she have an open heart and mind.  I pray for the knowledge of her teachers and admins and hope that they teach, lead, and act in a way in which glorifies God.  I pray that she have courage and be kind.  I pray that she stays focused and thrives this year.  At the end of the day, I just pray.

The night the picture on the left was taken she was about 3-4 days old.  I remember snuggling with her on our couch and Jimmy said to me, "next thing you know she'll be starting kindergarten".  And I bawled my post-pregnancy hormone eyes out because, "STOP! That is so far away!!!!"  And look, here we are.   It's not that far away at all because that picture on the left, it was just taken, I swear it was.  And yet there she is, looking too grown in her soccer gear, five short years later.

This year is going to be full of adjustments, learning, balancing and hopefully lots of fun thrown in there too.  I know it's going to be a roller coaster and there will be good days and bad.  I am excited, nervous, happy, scared, anxious and everything in between.  And I get to do it all over again in 2-3 more years.  Hashtag: motherhood.

August 20, 2015

What Would You Do With 24 Hours

As moms we have very little time to ourselves.  Am I right?  I mean we can't pee alone let alone sneak off to, gasp, the grocery store without a little helper.  Long gone are the days of free time.  I don't even know what that means anymore.

I used to hate alone time, pre-kids. I would actually sit in my apartment and cry a lot because I just didn't want to be alone.  On weekends I would retreat to my parents, Chanel in tow, and stay just to have some company.  Pathetic and sad, I know.  Gosh what I would do for some of that alone time now.

I got to thinking what I might do if I had a full 24 hours to do whatever I wanted...a girl can dream, right?  Obviously funds would be unlimited because duh.

  • Get a manicure AND pedicure
  • Read a book
  • Get a massage
  • EAT without interruption
  • Have a day date with Jimmy
  • Drink coffee while it's hot
  • Go shopping
  • Drive around with the windows down
  • Listen to any music I want
  • Sleep past 7 a.m.
  • Write more blog posts
  • Cook a fancy meal
  • Take a LONG shower
  • Go to the movies
  • Get a new tattoo
  • Have a real conversation with my husband
  • Go to a concert
  • Walk around Target and go down EVERY aisle
  • Workout at a gym
  • Take a nap
  • Wash my truck by hand
  • Meet a friend for lunch
  • Thoroughly clean my house
  • Catch up on my DVR
Just to name a few.  Think I could do that all in 24 short hours?  I wish!  

Where are all my mamas at?  What would you do with 24 hours of child-free time?

August 16, 2015

High Five! Kendall's FIVE!


This one stings a little bit.

Five.  What is it about that number?  It's such a milestone. It means kindergarten.  It means no longer preschool age but SCHOOL age.  And, most importantly, it's a whole hand of age.

Five years ago we were blessed with our first born, our most perfect baby girl.  She was round and pink and so so sweet.  I can still picture her sweet little face, she looked like a little cupcake.   She was the first born grandchild on both sides so everyone was excited to see her.  My hospital room was rarely empty.

Everyone said what an easy baby she was but I didn't get it.  She was our only so we had nothing to compare her to.  Looking back, they were right.  She was a breeze.  She never gave us much trouble, slept and ate pretty well and was generally a happy baby.  I remember thinking we had it rough when
she hit two {terrible twos anyone?} in hindsight it wasn't really bad at all.  I'll take her terrible twos again over her brothers current any day.  But that's a different post for a different day.

You know what's funny?  My 'label' for her on this  blog is still 'baby Kendall'.  I guess I should probably make a more updated one but I probably won't.  I tell her all the time that she will always be my baby, even when she's 32 {which she thinks is SO old}.  She cringes when I tell her that and even more when I pick her up in my arms and hold her like a newborn.  But it's true, she'll always be my baby.

Kendall is the sweetest, smartest, most fun-loving girl I know.  I think the best word to describe her is 'spunky'.  She's always up for having a good time and she's generally pretty silly.  She has the kind of personality where everyone who meets her falls in love with her.  I love that about her and I hope she never loses that quality.  Everyone loves to be around her and she can make anyone smile.

She says the wittiest things sometimes.  The other day James was calling 'Popsicles' 'motorcycles' and I said, "no buddy that's a Popsicle" and Kendall, without skipping a beat, said, "tomato,tomahtoe".  Like, for real?  How does she even know that phrase?  I laughed my butt off at that one.  But that's just one example of the many funny things that come out of her mouth.

She's mostly quiet in new settings or around new people.  She warms up quickly but it's almost as if she has to test the waters first.  She's so easy to get along with that her shyness goes away pretty quickly because someone will break her out of her shell.  She's a little bit nervous about starting Kindergarten for this very reason.  She even said to me, "but mom I'm shy when I meet new people, what if everyone makes fun of me?".  Baby girl I will throat punch someone if they make fun of you so you don't have to worry about that.

Speaking of Kindergarten, five is going to be a big year for our big girl.  Kindergarten is legit, man.  It means she's starting a new chapter in her little book.  It means more independence, making her own friends, and navigating life on her own a little at a time.  I can't lie, I'm nervous as heck for her, but I'm really trying to put on a brave face for her.  I know she will do great but I'm her mom and I worry.  We did find out she's in class with her good friend, Lucy, and they got the BEST kindergarten teacher in our district!  High five!

Not only will she be starting Kindergarten in just a couple weeks but she will also be playing her first team sport, soccer.  She had wanted to play soccer this past spring but our school only has fall ball for the kindergartners.  She's really looking forward to it and wants to be goalie so bad.  But don't worry, no mini vans here.

This past year I have watched Kendall mature so much.  Four was a really fun age and things started to get a lot easier but man, five is going to rock my socks.  I love having a built in BFF, my mini me, to talk to and hang out with.  She's really starting to become this really cool little person and I love watching her personality blossom.  She made me a mom and she will always hold the most special place in my heart.

Happy birthday, Kendall Paige.  We love you to the universe, more than coffee and 20 pony shows long.

August 14, 2015

James Weston Dew Is TWO!

Two years ago we welcomed our second, and most likely our last, baby.

Happy birthday James Weston!

I could say all those cliche mom things like, "we don't know what life would be like without you in it" and "two years has gone by so fast" but I won't bore you with those sentiments.  Instead I'll leave you with a little glimpse into life with James for the past two years.

James added a whole new level of love to my heart when he was born.  My heart swelled bigger than it had ever been and I don't think I've ever been so in love as I was the moment he was born.  I probably shouldn't say that because I have another child but it's true.  I felt things when he was born that I had never experienced before.  It could be because he was a boy and it could also be because we had a lot more alone time than I got with Kendall.  Either way, my heart doubled in size that day.

He's the most adorable hunk of chunk I've ever laid eyes on.  I swear that boy is too cute for his own good.  I know everyone thinks their kid's the cutest but my golly, that boy is delicious.   The other night I studied his little folds because while he still has that chubby part left he's getting really tall and leaning out so I know it's just a matter of time before that last bit of babyness is gone.  He's always been the chubbiest baby I know but every day he's looking more and more like a little boy.  Thank goodness for those puffy pillow cheeks, as long as he has those he'll still look like a baby.

James keeps me on my toes at all times.  I mean, the kids already had a broken leg for crying out loud.  He's rotten to the core and is usually up to no good.  He climbs all the things, gets into drawers he shouldn't and hits his sister any time he gets the opportunity.  He is smart too.  We've had to rig our doors so that he can't get outside because if he even senses for a minute that the he can escape, he will.  At the park he will climb the tallest thing and try to jump off.  It's totally scary and from what I understand it's totally a boy thing.  Whenever I share a picture of him at least one comment with say how ornery he looks and it's true, he is.

He's started talking a bit more lately and his latest words are "motorcycle" and "Popsicle" which he confuses and mixes up but it's really adorable.  He calls Jimmy "daddy-o" all of the sudden and it makes everyone laugh who hears it.  It's never "daddy" or "dad" or even "dada", he's always "daddy-o" and it's always my favorite.  Every morning when he wakes up the first words out of his mouth are, "I ride tractor?" and I always say, "not today buddy" {we don't even have a tractor} and he always says, "pease".  Melts my heart.   Jibberish is still his main form of communication though.

The sleeping department has taken a turn for the worse lately.  James has always been a good nighttime sleeper.  Naps were nonexistent till he was about 10-11 months but he slept through the night starting at 3 months.  For the past yearish he's been sleeping a solid 10-12 hours at night, going down at 7 and sleeping till 8-9.  But since our vacation, almost a month ago, he's been fussing to go down and waking up at 6:30.  He also started climbing out of his crib this week.  We're working on that.

His daddy lights up his life.  When Jimmy gets home from work he wants nothing more to do with me and it's all daddy until bedtime.  But daddy gets to do fun stuff like take him on the RZR and 4-wheeler so I don't blame him.  He's also his daddy's mini me, so there's that.  He loves his sissy.  It's a love/hate relationship really but it's more love than hate.  She's the first one he'll say "sowwy" to and he will randomly lay his head on her and snuggle.  But they fight more than they snuggle so don't get what I'm saying confused.  But those rare moments they are sweet make me realize why we had another baby.

Two years ago life got a lot more hectic but it also got a lot more love.  James has made our family what it is today, crazy, loud, chaotic and loads of fun.  We will never be bored with him around, that's for sure.  He's messy but he's the best.  I couldn't ask for a more perfect fit for our family.  He's exactly what we needed.

Happy birthday James Weston, you light up our lives.

August 5, 2015

Remember When...

Remember when you were young and you were obsessed with babies? You would sit on your best friends living room floor with the JCPenney catalog opened to the baby section. You would pick out your baby from the adorable baby models and then go through all the gear and pick out their crib, stroller, high chair, bedding, car seat, and more. You were a baby hog. Whenever your mom's friends would have babies you wanted nothing more than to hold them and play with them. You played "house" longer than any of your friends and probably longer than most.

Remember when you first got married, like on your honeymoon, and all you could think about was getting pregnant?  You were devastated when you came home from Mexico to see a - sign on that pee stick.  You cried when your husband said, "let's wait a year" as if he were telling you he never wanted to have kids EVER.  Little did you know that the following month would be it and you'd "finally" see that + sign.

Remember when you were a brand new mom with that squishy newborn?  Remember three months later when you had to go back to work while "all" your other blog friends who just had babies were getting the privilege to quit their jobs and become stay-at-home-moms?  You were so insanely jealous to the point where you were almost mad at them because you couldn't do the same.

Then remember when your job told you they were moving locations and you had the choice to either come with them or resign?  You called your husband crying because you didn't want to move but you also knew you couldn't stay home.  Your husband, as always, was your voice of reason and assured you it would be OK and that you could and should resign.  You were so scared but even more you were so happy.  Your dreams of being a SAHM were going to finally come true even if for just a few months.

Now three years have gone by since your stay-at-home-mom career started and while you've had a lot of fun days you've also had a lot of really trying ones.  Many times the hard days overshadow the good days and you find yourself crying, sitting in the parking lot of the pool.  You'll send your husband, your voice of reason, a text that reads something like, "I can't do this stay-at-home thing anymore.  I think I need to get a job again."

The terrible twos are back and while you thought they were hard the first time around, this second time is out to prove you wrong.  Wow.  Who knew an almost two-year-old could be so opinionated and literally make you feel like you've never parented before?  They make you question your sanity, your decision making, your life choices and ability to parent.  They make a night in a padded cell sound like a vacation.

Speaking of vacations, a "vacation" with kids is anything but.  You need to remember that as well.  You will not relax, you will not feel refreshed.  You will want a real vacation when you get back and actually look forward to going home because at least your house is kid-proof.

Many days you will feel like you are treading water with your nose barely above.  No one warns you of this and even if they did you would still have babies.  Because the truth is when the bad days seem to outweigh the good you will remember those days when you wanted this.  You wanted all of this, every messy, crazy, busy part of it.  Because not everyone gets this opportunity.  Many days you won't show it and your words won't speak it but you are thankful.  You will get through this stage and just like everyone tells you, "little kids, little problems- big kids, big problems".  While that statement annoys you more than anything you know that they are right and this too shall pass.

Hang in there moms, you're doing a great job.