First day and a birthday

Back to school!  First day was a success!  My girls were both so excited.  Couldn’t wait to see their teachers and friends. I hardly took any pictures!  Can you believe that?  I can’t.  But we were so rushed in the morning so I figured I’d take some at the school and then of course the school was a zoo!  I’m going to have to take some throughout the week for my school pages in their scrapbooks.

Ellie was all over the place hugging friends and socializing.  I couldn’t get her to stand still for two seconds.  And truth be told, maybe I was a little busy socializing too.  It was fun to see so many familiar faces again!

Kenny took Ellie to her class and I took Addison.  My little Kindergartner was so brave!  We did our usual hug/kiss routine (with Addison there is a routine for everything) and then she walked over to her little desk, sat down, and started coloring.  I walked out of the room feeling so happy for her and I wish I would have just kept on walking.  But instead, I stopped outside the window and stood there for a while looking in.  And I watched her thinking how did this happen?  When did she get so big and become so independent?  And then the tears started flowing and I couldn’t get them to stop.  I turned a few minutes later to face Kenny (who was patiently waiting with Kole in the stroller) and he looked at me like really?  Are you kidding me?  And then my neighbors walked by, saw me sobbing and said “really Erin?  Are you kidding me?”  They thought I was crazy to be crying – especially since I still have a baby at home – and especially since I’ve probably been more excited than anyone for child #2 to start Kindergarten.    And I AM excited she started Kindergarten.  But what can I say.  I cried.  I’m a cryer.  Is that even a word?   Kindergarten is a big step.  Especially for this sappy/sentimental mom.

I came home and the house felt so strange and quiet without the girls.  It made me sad and lonely for about ten minutes and then Kole and I started cleaning and I quickly got over being sad and was loving how much I was able to get done with only one “helper” in the house.  I seriously scrubbed my house from top to bottom.
I especially attacked the playroom with a vengeance!  (Quick shout out for The Wiggles who kept my little one entertained while I worked.  Greg, Murry, Anthony, Jeff – you are my heros and I love you.)  I was so anxious to resume some order in my house after having very little control all summer long.  

My girls were all smiles at the end of the day and couldn’t wait to tell me about everything that happened.  Just as soon as they changed into pajamas and checked on their ponies of course (who had been patiently waiting for them all day).  Addison was excited because her boots made her the tallest kid in class (an observation she made in the lunch line).  Ellie was pumped about their class behavior system, although she only got “good” instead of “fantastic” for the day because she may have talked to a few friends in class…  Mmmm hmmm.  Sounds like we picked up right where we left off last year with daughter #1.

Last weekend we celebrated Kenny’s birthday.  I felt bad because this was NOT my best year as far as planning goes.  In past years I have written posts about 33 things I love about him (the age he was turning), thrown surprise parties with friends, and have given him little surprises all week leading up to the big day.  This year?  I couldn’t even get a babysitter so we could go out!  I think I called over ten girls – all busy.  Plus the week before was so busy with back to school shopping and I had all three kids at home so his gifts were less than stellar.  His birthday came and went and was for the most part like a typical Sunday.  (I’m totally linking to past birthday posts in hopes that Kenny will read this and remember that I actually am a good wife, just one who is having an off year…)

I did manage to put together this bulletin board for the kids to give him.  He has been saying he’d like some of the kids’ artwork to hang in his office and I thought this would look better than random drawings all over the place.

**Happy Birthday babe!  Sorry your day was so lame.  The good news is that #1 – I still love you the most and #2 – after the birthday you had this year, things can only go up.  ;)

Summer Wrap-up

One last post to wrap up summer!

We didn’t do everything on our list.  Didn’t make it to the Zoo or Seaworld.  Didn’t go camping.  Scrapbooking didn’t happen.  And we definitely didn’t get a puppy!  Quite a few of our normal summer activities didn’t happen because of complications.  And by complications I mean Kole.  :)  His stage of life tends to make certain activities…hmmm… how should I say it… not fun.  But we did have fun this summer!  And we did check quite a few things off our list!

For instance…

Baseball game with fireworks

Movie parties
Picnics and Pretending

Swimming
Organizing

Time at the Park.  We spent LOTS of time at the park.

And the BEACH!

Even on a cloudy day the beach is fun.  
And now my kids are asleep, outfits are laid out, lunches are pre-packed and the camera is charged.  
First day of school is hours away.  
Good-bye summer!  Looking forward to seeing you again next year.  

Fashion Friday

“It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday….”  
Sorry.  I couldn’t resist a little Rebecca Black love.  
Weekend is upon us everyone!  Last week of summer is over baby!  So happy I survived and am still around to blog about it.  :)
I wanted to quickly answer a few random questions I never answered.  I finally set things up so that my blog comments go straight to my e-mail (should have done that FORever ago) so from now on it will be so much easier for me to answer your questions.  Sorry if you’ve asked me something and I never got back to you!  I always blame my inability to stay on top of my e-mails/comments on baby #3, however, baby #3 is looking less and less like a baby lately so I figure it’s time to either come up with a better excuse or get on the ball!   
Several of you asked where my mom bought the princess bedding when I shared the girls’ rooms at my mom’s house.  I believe she bought it at Target.  Gotta love Target.  She bought it several years ago though so I don’t know if they still carry it.  I know the princess castle shower curtain was from Target and the bead board bookshelf in the room with the bunk beds was from a specialty furniture store in her area.  I think that store has since gone out of business though.  (bummer too because it was a cute store..)
Here’s a Fashion Friday question…
“I love Fashion Friday!  Got any maternity ideas to share?  I know you’re past that now and probably blocked it from your mind forever…”
Loved this.  Yes.  Definitely blocked all things pertaining to maternity clothes from my mind forever! ;)  Seriously I was such a beast this last pregnancy!  My “annoying” post summed it up.  Everything bugged me.  I really don’t know how Kenny survived.  
But the clothes!  I actually think maternity clothes can be fun!  This was my strategy with maternity clothes this last time around.  First I wore my regular clothes for as long as I possibly could (which wasn’t that long).  
Then I invested in two really good pairs of maternity jeans.  Some boot cut Joe jeans with a lighter wash and then some dark skinny jeans from the Gap.  I wore those two pairs of jeans everywhere with everything.  They cost a bit more than I really wanted to spend on maternity clothes, but good fitting jeans make such a difference in the way you feel about yourself (at least for me) so that’s where I chose to spend a little more.  Then I just bought inexpensive tops that were comfortable that I could wear again and again.  I bought most of my shirts at Gap Maternity.  
Here’s some of my best pregnancy fashion advice — accessorize!  If you’re pregnant in the Fall, wear your Fall boots.  Add funky jewelry/headbands – anything you can do to avoid looking like you don’t care anymore.  (I know – it’s easy to not care anymore when you’re gaining weight at the speed of light.) Don’t over do it, obviously, but a fun pair of shoes or a great necklace can make those plain maternity clothes appear super stylish.  

 (32 weeks)
Especially play it up during the second trimester.  That’s when you feel good and look cute pregnant.  As opposed to first trimester when you just look fat, not pregnant and third trimester when you look miserable pregnant.  Because you are.  (Totally speaking from my own experience here.)  The second trimester is a fun time to dress cute and show off your belly.  
(Extremely close to due date.  Butt was as big as my stomach.)
(baby shower with my cute friends)

When I hit the third trimester, I tired to avoid sweats when I was out and about (as tempting as it was) and I wore a lot of dresses.  I bought a few dresses that covered everything and then some and I lived in them.  My other best piece of advice — notice the tie at the top of my stomach in the grey dress above?  It’s always more flattering to buy something like this that makes it appear as though you have some sort of shape left.  I found that fitted clothes were a lot more flattering than buying huge clothes that covered everything.  Clothes like that just make you look even bigger.  Look for clothes that pull in fitted above your belly. 

Quick re-cap:
1)  Invest in a good pair of jeans (when I was pregnant with Ellie and teaching school I invested in a couple of good pairs of slacks).  Straight legged pants are more flattering than baggy ones.  
2)  Accessorize (focus on the shoes and jewelry) 
3)  Don’t hide your belly under baggy clothes, show it off with slim, fitted shirts.  
4)  Especially enjoy the second trimester.  It’s your time to shine!
5)  Eat as much as possible and enjoy it!!!  You can work it off later!!!  (Not really good advice but something I lived by with each of my three pregnancies.)
Hope that helps all of you cute pregnant ladies!  May the force be with you.    
Since we’re heading back to school next week I thought I’d share a few cute things I picked up for my girls…

All of these were from the Gap.  My girls have a lot to wear already (too much really) so I just picked up some cute, casual tops.  Purple seems to be the color for Fall!  My girls love leggings and they love being comfortable so the above items seemed like a good way to go.  Plus all of the tops were cheaper if you bought two of the same style and since I’m always buying two of everything I love deals like that!

I couldn’t decide which of these two cute headbands to get to go with their new purple tops so I just bought one of each and they can share.  Aren’t they fun!?

New shoes are a must.  They have to be closed toed (a school rule) and comfortable for all of that playground action!  Addison is still working on the shoe tying so we opted for velcro for her.  Every minute counts in the morning when we are rushing to get out the door!

I also found these darling flats for Ellie at Children’s Place.  So cute for skirt days!  I was really bummed they didn’t have Addie’s size.  Also bummed they didn’t have my size.   :)

Happy back to school everyone!!!

Summer Camps

I really can’t believe our summer is coming to an end!  We’re ready.  The kids are ready (whether they know it or not) and I am VERY ready.  But I have to say that even though there have been moments of insanity (multiple moments each day) overall, we have had a good summer.  A great summer actually.  I spent some time planning out our summer before it started by signing the girls up for several camps and creating a bit of a schedule for us and that was HUGE in our success.  The girls had a chance to develop new skills and new friendships, the kids and I spent lots of time playing together, and Kole enjoyed a three hour nap each day.  Win win for everyone.  
Here is a mini wrap up of the fun my girls had at their camps this summer…
First up was Ellie’s Junior Lifeguard camp.  Two weeks of afternoons spent on the beach learning about ocean safety/life, playing games, doing exercises, snorkeling, and just having fun in the water.  It was her favorite camp by far and a new summer tradition for sure.  Addison can’t wait until she is old enough to join her sister in the waves.    

For the month of July I signed Ellie up for a variety of camps that went from 9-12 each morning.  She took ‘art explorers’ from a local artist and came home with some pretty cool stuff.  She also came home with some pretty messy clothes.  A small price to pay for the lessons learned by my budding Picasso.

Another favorite of Ellie’s was ‘Clay Creations’ where she created clay masterpieces each day.  She was so excited to bring home everything she made and give it all away to our family.  She had made special pieces for each one of us.  A bird for grandma (who was visiting at the time) a strawberry for Addison, a shark for daddy.  Cause well, what would look cooler in daddy’s office than a slightly jagged blue shark?  Not much I tell ya.  
  

She only made one thing for herself – a dog of course.  Which is good since that’s the closest thing she’s getting to a real dog for a very long time.  And she made a turtle for mommy with green feet.  Because mommy loves turtles and the color green.  That I do.  :)
While Ellie was busy sculpting and painting, Addison spent a month in a Kindergarten prep camp.  Aside from having a blast, she got such a great glimpse into life as a Kindergartner by singing, painting, playing, learning to listen and raise her hand.  She almost learned everything too well and started raising her hand at the dinner table each evening when she wanted to say something.  I loved it.  The school teacher in me busted out and I almost instigated a new “raise your hand at the table” policy.  Kole unfortunately ended that idea before it started.  

Every afternoon when I went to pick Addison up she had the biggest smile on her face.  Patiently waiting on the rug to show me everything she had done that day.  She brought home so many fun projects that I still haven’t had time to sort through.  For now, I’ve just tossed everything in this basket.  (BTW – I bought several of these beauties at Target and am loving them!)

I’m anxious to go through all of her creations to decide what will go in her scrapbook, what will be displayed somewhere in the house and what to toss. 

Ellie also took a singing and dancing class and at the end of it they performed their routines for the parents and some other children.  Ellie was so excited that the “bear group” was coming to see her dance since that was Addison’s class.  The singing was delightful and the dancing was hip.  Kenny and I quite enjoyed the show.

And so did little brother.  
The show was captivating enough to keep this little guy strapped in the entire time.  
That is saying A LOT.  

One last camp before we call it a summer!  Last week my girls finished up a gymnastic camp at the center they take gymnastics each week.

I was amazed at all they learned in one short week.  They have improved so much and really love this sport.  I love vicariously living through them and remembering the day when I too could do a trick or two.  Of course the gymnasts put on a great show at the end of the week.

And Kole had a front row seat with the beverage of his choice.   

I took this picture about a year ago when Addison started taking gymnastics with Ellie and I can’t believe how far they’ve come since then.  Not just in gymnastics, but in everything they’ve done.  They are growing into such beautiful girls – inside and out – and I felt so proud this summer to claim them as my own.  The two of them really shined during their camps in their own special ways.  They worked hard, played hard, and were kind and respectful to friends and teachers.  Then they came home and helped me by entertaining their little brother.

**Ellie and Addison – I love the two of you so much!  I know that you will soar next year in Kindergarten and Second Grade.  I’m so excited to see what else is in store for the two of you!  Great things for sure.

xoxo, mom

Tuesday Tidbits

Just popping in for a quick hello today! 
Our last week of summer is off to a good start!  We’ve been on the go so much this summer that a week of lounging and catching up at home is just what the doctor ordered.  Ellie is still on her dog kick so the girls have watched Lady and the Tramp a time or twenty.  
Kole is into as much trouble as ever.  To say this little guy keeps me on my toes is an understatement.  
In the beginning my house was simply “baby proofed,” but we’ve taken it up a notch and I’m happy to say that my house is now officially “Kole proofed.” We did take down the stair gates yesterday however, since he has mastered going up and down the stairs on his own in about a nano second.  I LOVE having those gates gone!  Feels like I can breathe in my house again.  

He is teething like crazy and chewing on everything.  This morning I caught him right before he digested a purple crayon.  He broke his right front tooth a couple of weeks ago.  His sisters were in the tub so he pulled himself up to the side of the tub to say hello.  The only problem was that the side of the tub was wet so back down he went, chipping his tooth off along the way.  I swear he has aged me ten years in the last few months.

Aside from being quite the stunt man, my boy is also such a flirt!  You’d never know the mischief he’s up to if you met him at the grocery store or when we’re out and about.  He sits and smiles coyly at anyone who will glance his way and he especially knows how to work it with the ladies.  He is becoming more of his daddy’s boy every day.  

Go ahead buddy!  Toss that dinner all over the place.  You and I both know that your irresistible tooth-chipped smile is your ‘get out of jail free’ card.

I started a little project yesterday.  Actually a big project.  I’m completely re-arranging my girls closets and how I organize their clothes.  We’re still house hunting, but are busting out of space in our current house so we’ve decided it’s time to rent a storage shed.

I’m moving everything that was in our guest room closet (old formals, dance costumes, Halloween costumes, etc.) into boxes and moving all of Ellie’s clothes in.  My girls need their own closet space so badly.  Especially since we also use their closet to hold/store toys.

Kenny went upstairs last night to read to the girls when he got home from work and gave me quite the look when he saw the mess I’d made.  I smiled and said “it always gets worse before it gets better!”   :)
So, without further delay, I’m off to organize!   

p.s.  My kitchen shelf re-do was featured….twice!!  I am so excited and honored that these fun bloggers included my shelf in their list of favorites out of the hundreds who linked up.  You can check it out at Tidy Mom and Tip Junkie and also see some other fun projects they featured.

Have a great Tuesday everyone!