Thursday, September 8, 2016

Back to School Routine

Off to school on their first day!
I honestly do not know where the summer went this year!  It seems like I was just picking the girls up from their last day of school, and now they've been back to school a little over a week!!  The last week of their summer vacation, I was feeling like we didn't do enough, or we didn't do anything too exciting, or I worked too much (20 hours a week from home).  Also, with my "baby" leaving elementary school and moving up to 5th grade at the middle school, and my eldest entering 10th grade (!!) I was having the pangs of the rapid passage of time and how did this two little munchkins grow up so quickly?  A funny thing happened though on the first day of school - I had a distinct feeling of "there is nothing I can do about it now, today is a new day" and I have quickly gotten into the school routine again!  

But our routine has changed a lot this year!  My girls both ride the same bus - at the same time - last year the bus & driver made the route at 6:30am to pick my eldest up, and then did the route again to pick my youngest up at 8:00am!  This year, with one in middle school and one in high school, they are on the same bus, so my youngest and I are getting up at 5:45am every morning to make the 6:30 bus!  My eldest still gets up at 5:30am as she has the past few years, but now she has to share the bathroom with her little sister -- she is not thrilled about that!  Last year my older daughter had a routine of getting up, eating breakfast, relaxing for a few minutes whether back in bed or on the computer or on her iPod, then getting ready for school.  Her make-up routine involved mascara.  Over the summer, when her cousin and best friend came to visit for a week she was introduced to the larger world of make-up (tasteful, of course!) and so that takes a little more mirror time in the morning!  Last year, I would get up about 20 minutes before my daughter left on the bus -- she is more than capable of getting herself ready and out the door, but I wanted her to have some company in the morning and also wanted to make sure that she got on the bus safely.  

I had planned to get up earlier this year and help my little one get ready.  All summer she begged to have an alarm clock -- panicking about how would she wake up on her own at 5:00 (really 5:45, but she had 5 in her head) without an alarm clock?  I promised I would wake her, but she insisted, so I found a little white alarm clock with multi-colored numbers -- for $5.99 at Target!  Can't beat that!  We got that the week before school started and every night at bedtime she wanted to set it for "5:00" the next morning!  I convinced her that we could wait, no need to wake up so early when we didn't have to!  A few days before school we began getting her back to an earlier bedtime.  The first day of school, at 5:45am her alarm made the first "blip" of it's little song, and she bounced out of bed and shut it off, ready to start the day!  This summer, we cleaned out the clothes in both girls' closets and set them up with one of those hanging fabric shelves that has about 6 "pockets" (shelves).  My eldest is not quite using it the way I had in mind, but my youngest and I have gone through her clothes and picked out a week's worth of outfits at a time and we put one complete outfit in each "pocket."  In the morning, her alarm goes off, she gets up, opens her closet and takes out her outfit to get dressed!  This has been working WONDERFULLY for both her and me!  It saves both of us time in the morning!

I am not normally a morning person, but this past week in particular, I have found myself enjoying staying up (I really could go back to bed for a little bit if I wanted) and getting work done earlier, straightening things up around the house, etc.  Yesterday, I had pot roast in the crock pot at 6:00am, had made beds, done the dishes, folded some laundry, and put 4 hours of work in by 11:00am!  What a great feeling!!  I was lucky to find a part-time, 20 hour a week job as a virtual executive assistant, and so I am able to work from home which really is a blessing!  It can be a stressful job, in spite of the fact that I work at home and can work in my pj's if I want...  I am trying to better manage my time so that when the girls get home around 2:30pm, I am done with work and available to help with homework and hear about their day with no work distractions!  So far so good since school started last week!

What types of things do you do to help ease back into the school routine?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

First of the Season!

First of the season!  Made homemade pumpkin pie for the family -- my littlest one's favorite (she's been asking for it all summer)!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

First Day of School!

Holding up the "stop" sign!
Today is the first day of school!  (We start early here...)  My girls are off to 5th and 10th grades this year!  Where did the time go?  My youngest is now in the middle school, so Mommy will not be invited to help out in class any more!  (Sniff, sniff -- I really loved that!!)  And, they ride the bus together as the middle school and high school share the buses.  Of course, they have already stated they will not sit together -- they each have a friend they want to sit with.  Last year, I would wait in the driveway with my youngest and frequently walk her to the bus (our stop is at the end of our driveway).  This year, of course with her sharing the bus with her high school aged sister, I am watching from the door.  I did come out to take pictures of them on their first day, but it was suggested (by my eldest) that I not come too close.  My little one told me later that she would let me come within "hug distance" - bless her heart!

I hope this is the start of a wonderful year for both of them!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


My eldest came home from school and was excited to tell me about a conversation that took place in math class today.  A friend asked "How many times do I need to sing "Satisfied" from Hamilton before this class is over?" Another friend asked, "How long is that song?" 5 minutes.  "Then you need to sing it 7 times."  My daughter shared with them (likely as a "fun fact" as she says to us at home all of the time...) that when she was little her mother (me) would tell her how long things were in terms of a Disney show (something she could relate to).  How long until we get to Grandma's house?  "Two Hannah Montana's" or "Two Kim Possible's."  Her singing friend said, "My mom used to do that too!!"  My girl was then reminded me about her school trip to Washington DC last year, and how a friend of her's said, "I don't have to go to the bathroom, but I'm going to try before we leave, like my mother always tells me I should!"  And of course, my girl said, "My mom tells me that ALL the time too!!"  She told me, "You know, I think all moms think alike!"  

Hey, at least my girl must be listening to me and absorbing some of these "pearls of wisdom"!  ;)  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Growing So Fast!

Where does the time go?  My girls are growing up so fast!  My eldest is a freshman in high school -- college is closer than my husband and I want to think about!  And my "baby" is in 4th grade, going into Middle School next year!  Our girls are pretty tall and are constantly outgrowing their clothes or shoes.  Thankfully, our eldest has probably stopped growing (don't tell her I said that -- she is about 5'10" and desperately wants to make it to 6'! ;) -- she's been in the same shoe size for a few years now (hooray!!), not so for the little one.  Today, she came home from school and because the weather was colder than it has been (I thought we were in Spring now, folks!) we had her wear a zip-up hoodie over a long sleeved shirt, a tank top and jeans.  The hoodie seems to be bordering on being too tight now, so when she got home I said, "Is that hoodie getting too tight?"  Yes.  "Are we done with it?"  Yes.  So I say, "Here" and hold out my hand and she takes the hoodie off and hands it to me.  Then as I watch her tug the sleeves of her shirt down, I say, "Is that shirt getting too tight?"  Yes.  "Are we done with that too?"  And she says, "Yes, but don't say 'Here' because I still need to WEAR this tonight!!"  

This took place in the dining room and she was probably having a flashback to this weekend when we were getting ready to go outside for a little picnic and I took the opportunity to have her try on last year's summer stuff to see what still fits.  Her sister and I were in her bedroom with her and I had the front window shade pulled down so drivers-by wouldn't catch the show of her changing.  She had me and her sister in hysterics putting on crazy mismatched outfits.  We had piles of clothes for "wear it around the house", "wear it in public" and "give away."  At one point we settled on a pair or shorts to wear outside and I found a shirt for her to wear with them.  I must have thought she was a quick change artist, because I pulled the window shade up just when she's standing in the middle of her room, one arm up in the air putting on deodorant, no shirt!  Up goes the blind and she yells, "HEY!"  and ran behind me to hide.  Her sister was laughing hysterically -- mostly because I didn't pull the shade back down!  I was too busy apologizing and laughing -- it was a funny sight!  Good thing our house is set back from the road!!  Anyway, we got through the pile of last year's shorts -- have to work on sorting through last year's shirts next -- I feel like we just cleaned out her clothes and now we are back at it again!  

Don't get me started on shoes... 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

At Last, Spring?

It was a beautiful day here in Southern NH, and while Daddy was working, the girls and I were feeling like we should be out enjoying the fresh air and sunshine!  What a lengthy process to get us out the door (into our own yard...).  First, we had to find appropriate warm weather clothing.  That took longer for my little girlie, because I thought this would be the perfect time to go through her piles of shorts from last summer to see which ones still fit!  Hilarity ensued, as it seems to, when my two girls and I spend any amount of time working on project together.  More on that in another post.  We finally found an outfit!

Now, lunch -- we'd decided on "munchy picnic-style" food for lunch.  I pulled out two plastic serving trays -- went searching for the one large one that I like to use for just such an occasion.  In the kitchen, no.  In the laundry room, no.  In the storage closet, no.  Then I remembered -- it's in the playroom with every large Lego creation my little girlie has made!  Moving on to find something else...  Got my trays, pulled out pita chips and hummus, pulled out dipping pretzels and fancy mustard, sliced up cheese, pulled out crackers, grapes, beverages...  Finally, we are ready to walk out the door!  We rearrange some furniture to allow everyone a seat near the food.  We sit, and start to eat, and enjoy the sunshine!

And two minutes pass...  And my girls are ready to go inside because there are bugs outside!  Oh the horror!  Seriously?  We've been prepping for over an hour and you give it two minutes!  Somehow we pushed through had a bite to eat and then we moved onto outdoor projects.  My husband is having back surgery soon and he must avoid any lifting for 4 - 6 weeks, so I told the girls we are going to have to pitch in more than usual.  They worked together to put out our pretty collection of painted garden stones, and I worked on trimming up my hydrangea and raking leaves leftover from the fall.  My little one pulled her bike out of the shed.  It was a fun and fairly productive day!  I was very happy that my girls were able to find their inner outdoorswomen and "tough it out" in spite of the bugs!  (Although, they both abandoned me when I moved out front to rake...  Baby steps!)

How are you enjoying the nice Spring weather?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Not a Fan of Thunder!

It's a gray day here in New Hampshire, the kids are off of school this week, and we are just hanging out at home today after a busy week!  Earlier we heard a loud rumbling of thunder and my littlest cutie closed her eyes and said, "Please let it be loud elephants...  Please let it be loud elephants!"  Not a fan of thunder, but so cute!  (It was not loud elephants, it was thunder -- but just one or two rumbles and then it passed, much to her relief!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Re-Organizing a Child's Room

Here's the "After"
It is February recess here and we have friends traveling to Florida, friends traveling to Africa -- what exciting locale did we travel to?  My youngest daughter's bedroom!  Woo hoo!  ;)  I work part-time from home and still needed to get my hours in, and my husband had Mon & Tues off, so we had hoped to do some fun things while he was off.  Unfortunately, he got a 24-hour flu bug and we quarantined him away from the rest of us all day on Monday!  While he was in quarantine ;) I got a burst of Spring (overly optimistic at this point) cleaning energy, and talked the girls into tackling my youngest daughter's room! I had a flash the other night of a different furniture set up in her room that I thought might give her more space.  We moved here almost 3 years ago and her room was the first one painted and one of the first to be set up.  At the time, I thought I was arranging her furniture in the best way possible with the configuration of door, windows, closet.  It worked for a long time, but lately I've been feeling like it was getting cluttered and feeling tight.  

Previously, when you entered the room, the bed was placed opposite the door, horizontally.  There was a small area to the right of that (where her bed is now) that was open floor space for her to play.  Recently I had a thought of, "I wonder if I can fit the bed in between the windows?"  I measured it out first -- ALWAYS a good idea before you start moving heavy furniture!!  It looked like it would fit and so we got started!  My eldest daughter, bless her heart, was up for helping Mom with the heavy lifting!  The worst thing to move was her little white dresser (right side of the picture).  It was awkward to move and HEAVY!  The carpets were also a pain to move!  Ideally, you would take everything out of the room, lay down the area rugs, and then bring the furniture back in.  But, there was no way that I was taking her bed apart -- that would have been a project in itself!  So, we moved as much stuff out as possible, leaving the bed (largest item) and the dresser (heaviest item).  We rolled the carpets up and moved the bed first -- piece of cake!  It is a beautiful, sturdy bed, but thankfully it is also super easy to move!!  Then we rolled out 1 area rug and vacuumed it thoroughly and then did the same with the second area rug (the rug is actually 2 identical area rugs that I bought at Target for $100 each.  We've had them since before she was born (she's 9) and I still love them!  Thankfully, so does my girlie!  She likes to try to play hopscotch on the squares...).  We slid one into place under the bed -- not too tricky, just had to lift up one corner of the bed.  Then the second rug...  In our first attempt, we had the HEAVY dresser on the wall to the left of the picture, facing the bed, and so all of the dresser legs had to be on the rug -- VERY difficult to maneuver!  We left it that way for the night, and in the morning I still did not love the way it looked and thankfully my husband was up and feeling better and he moved the dresser to where it is now.  That made a big difference!  

The biggest change in the room was the bed -- just flipping it to the opposite side, I cannot even tell you how much larger her room looks now!  My "before" picture is from the first week we moved -- I think it looks roomier here due to a combo of the camera angle and the fact that over the past 3 years she's accumulated a lot more -- including a big toy box!  In addition to rearranging her furniture and giving her room a good Spring cleaning, we also took the opportunity to go through everything to de-clutter!  My eldest daughter was so helpful with this -- the 3 of us sat on the floor and started with the stuffed animals.  My youngest LOVES stuffed animals and they seem to multiply quickly in her room!  We went through all of her stuffed animals and made piles of things that we are keeping in her room, things that we want to keep in her "special box" as a keepsake, things that are broken and could be thrown away, and things that we don't need and we can give away to someone else.  We followed the same process with her closet, in particular with her box of dress up things!  With both groups of items, my eldest would hold something up and ask her little sister, "Do you need this?"  Immediately, "YES!"  And if it was something that was in good shape, we know that she loves it, have seen her wear or use it, we would put it in the "keep" pile.  There was a large number of items in both groups that my eldest and I knew right away could go in the trash or giveaway piles, but still, my little girlie's first answer was KEEP!  My eldest would then say, "Really?  You really need to keep (fill in the blank)?"  Yes!  "But I never even see you playing with it!" or, tease her gently, "Really?  You need to keep stuffed BAT?"  The 3 of us had lots of laughs during the process -- watching my eldest grab various crazy dress up items and put them on -- light up sunglasses, boa, you name it!  She reached in her little sister's toy box and then screamed when her hand laid on a stuffed rat!!  (Beanie Baby)  But at first glance she thought it was a real rat!  We laughed hysterically over that and it went right into the giveaway pile!  We got everything de-cluttered and organized and into place on the first day and by the end of the second day we also had everything re-hung on her walls,  

It was not a relaxing, tropical vacation, but we all felt like we had accomplished something, my girlie loves her "new" room, has a fresh start when school is back in session, and we all had a surprisingly fun time with lots of laughs!!  Now my eldest wants us to work on her room next!!