Thursday, August 25, 2016

Under the Trees


My little "orchard" got some focused attention yesterday. All my little trees, surviving though they are, were about to be swallowed by weeds and grasses that were growing unchecked around their failing stakes and ties.

A few of the little babies were completely untethered, bending and blowing in the wind thanks to my poor decision to use kite string to brace them when they were planted.

Something needed to be done.


I got to work weeding, mulching, and re-staking them all right after returning home from dropping my kiddos off at school.

It's funny- I've been asked several times about what I plan on doing with myself now that both kids are away for the majority of the day... honestly, not that much has changed now that the kids aren't around. The same things that need to be done are still waiting for me in the morning, kids here or not.

I would have been working out under the trees yesterday even if it wasn't a school day. The only thing that has really changed so far has been my new ability to really focus. Because I never had to stop while weeding to mediate an argument, or get cleaned up before the mulch was down because little bellies were hungry way before mine was crying for a brake, or redo anything because well-meaning helpers were coming behind me digging, untying, spilling, etc, I was able to be pretty efficient with this little job.

Silver lining, right?







All that being said, I still have to admit it would have been a more fun project with my helpers, and efficiency is kinda overrated.

Side note: while I was re-staking the trees, it was so quiet I actually heard a cricket chewing on a piece of grass in the yard beside me. So while the peace and stillness of the house to myself has some advantages, it might also drive me a little nuts if I let it.

I mean, c'mon. I heard a cricket chewing grass.

How much longer until school dismisses.....................?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Say "CHEESE"


I swear, right about the time I realize I didn't really need to wish away my least-favorite season, it's basically over anyway. I feel like this summer was on fast-forward, and even though I'm super glad fall is right around the corner, I am still a little in denial- is this really the last full week of August?

I was lamenting that truth tonight while I watched my big kids climb around and expend the last of their school-day energy while dinner sizzled on the grill. Time flies, man. Time really flies.








Don't get me wrong, I don't regret a thing so far......................... but if only we each got a certain number of 'pause' or 'rewind' buttons in these fleeting years, it might lessen the sting of their fading.

Maybe therein lies the blessing of these prolific opportunities we all have now to record any moment we wish for posterity.

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Say "CHEESE," kiddos.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Second and K


It has finally happened. Both of my Littles are away at school, my biggest Little in second grade and my littlest Little in kindergarten.



Sister didn't even look back when I walked her to her new classroom. She just marched right in, put her backpack away like she'd done it a thousand times, and plopped down in her seat with a big grin on her face. I had to call to her to get her to wave at me as I left.

Little Brother held my hand the whole way down to his classroom, and smiled joyfully the whole time his teacher was showing him where his lunchbox would go and which cubby was his. He blew me a kiss as I backed out of his new space, and I was a little wobbly walking back out to my car by myself.

They're gonna knock everyone's socks off... and I'll find my way around these open days, I'm sure.

After all, if they can own these changes with such happiness and optimism, so can I. Right?

I can't believe my babies are so big...............................

Friday, August 19, 2016

They're Ready



We've got the wardrobes ready. We've got the shoes all lined up.

We've got the backpacks. We've got the lunch boxes.

We've met the teachers.

They're ready.

(See the previous years' teachers here and here, how time flies!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Before and After :: Master Bath

Every part of our house has been a work in progress since the day we laid claim on it. There has been no part that hasn't needed renovation, repair, or in the very least a deep, deep cleaning. Some parts of our house had top priority and were finished before we even moved in (hello professional kitchen cleaning, top-to-bottom painting, and new carpeting). Other parts have had to wait their turn and are only now nearing the finish line.

Our master bath has been in the latter category. We are finally- three years later- finishing it... but it's been worth the wait. My 'before' photos come from my very first house viewing, when I was laying eyes on the mess that was this place for the first time (so do excuse the rawness of them, I'm pretty sure they were all taken with a crappy cell phone camera). Lemme tell ya I had stars in my eyes, though, because I could see right through the grossness to the potential, and it was good.

Before:









Never mind the in-between of taking down the curtains, painting the walls, tearing out the tub, taking up the floors, tearing down the shower, re-plumbing everything, and putting it all back together. Let's cut to the chase...

After:






























We  did about 85% of the work ourselves, and took these past three years to hunt and haggle for everything we put into it. I love my tub (we got it at a crazy bargain because it was a clearance floor model), and I super-love my authentic hand-made Moroccan light (find them here). Well worth the wait, I'm tellin' ya.

Now with the bathroom finished we don't have much left on our "Phase One" to-do list, and as the weather cools this fall we'll be able to start on some of the fun projects that have been patiently waiting for our attention (hello pond and wood shed!).

I sure am glad we both find gratification in this kind of work, because with this house, there's been a lot of it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Visiting :: Sandestin, FL

Warning: this is a very photo-heavy post full of family vacation photos. If you don't dig waiting for your computer to load pics of other peoples' kids, skip this post and come back tomorrow when I'll be showing off our 'before' and 'after' photos of our master bathroom renovation!


For our family vacation this summer, we teamed up with some close family friends and headed to Sandestin, Florida. We rented a house (vs. staying in a hotel, best decision ever) and the kids got to take their first ever plane ride.

They behaved like angels.

The house was amazing.

The weather eventually cooperated (it poured down rain off and on for the first 24 hours we were there).

All in all it was a good time.




We arrived a few hours ahead of our pals and spent the late morning at the wharf seeing the sights and avoiding the sudden downpours that were still happening. Once everyone was together and we had checked in to our house, we did more of the same and got to bed really late (a theme we'd repeat every night we were in Florida).

















Our second day was much sunnier and we tried to hit the beach, but the beach we picked was just plain crowded so we spent the day poolside. Our dinner spot had a nice slice of beachfront, though, so after dinner the kids got to put their toes in the sand for the first time.








To  get the Littles to finally head back for bedtime (late again), we promised a beach day the following day and set our sights on Henderson Beach State Park. We only made it a half-day, though, to allow for a nap and a visit to another one of the resort pools.







Our last day was filled with all the activities the kids had seen in passing but hadn't gotten to do yet- bungee trampoline jumping, more merry-go-rounding, feeding the fish, and of course the touristy photo op traps.





We  had a good flight back and we all parted ways still liking each other and vowing another trip next summer... and to me that alone makes it a success!