Thursday, August 21, 2014

Change is Hard.

We're in the middle of a countdown over here.

Audrey is counting down to the first day she gets to use her backpack, lunch box, and new shoes.
The first day she gets to have all the special snacks we've been stashing.
The music, art, and playground time she'll get to have every day, and her special dual-language classes.
The new friends she'll make.

Henry is counting down to when he finally gets to start gymnastics.
The time he'll get to spend playing with whatever he wants without competition.
The chance to "ride Sissy's Jeep and tricycle whenever I want!"

I, on the other hand, am counting down to some slightly different things.
Having to drop one of my Littles off and trust their well-being to the hands of- basically- strangers.
The influences of other childrens' habits, behaviors, and vocabularies on our new student... and her bro.
The shift in morning routine, afternoon 'quiet time,' and bedtime rituals.
The letting go.

The kids are restless and edgy right now, I'm sure in part from the feelings they sense and the anticipation from everyone around them as the start of the school year looms. It helps to remind me that there will also be good that comes from this change: one-one-one time with Mama and Henry, separation of siblings for hearts to grow fonder, other strong-willed leader-type kids to teach Audrey that she's not the ruler of the universe. (and of course all the learning and stuff, too)

This August has felt like one thing after the other every. single. day. There has be lots of errands, travel, making, prepping, meetings, parties, and visitors. There have been unconquerable to-do lists and things simply left undone. There have been things neglected and new things started, and as the summer draws to a close and we get over the hump of ending the summer, the month, and starting the school year, hopefully things will calm down for us all and we'll find a new, adjusted rhythm.

Until then I have doubled my efforts to focus in on all the simple, magical moments in the remaining days of our 'usual,' capture them, savor them, and try my darndest not to let them speed by with the chaos of this transitional time.

Change is hard, y'all.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Right Now, In Photos

Right now, we're loving...

...all this. This is what we're loving right now, even though we're back home, where we belong. We missed our place, and I think the creatures we left behind missed us, too (hello cat, can I please have my esophagus back now, thank you).

Five days of surf and sun, five days for sand to penetrate everything we brought along, five days to get our fill before we're back at it, landlubber-style.

Still, it was fun to belong at the beach for a little while...

Friday, August 15, 2014

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

6-Hour-Car-Ride Prep

We are embarking on our first road trip since Henry was an infant and Audrey was in diapers. These kids are now old enough to need potty stops. Conversation. Entertainment. *gulp* My Type-A personality is freaking out a little. How am I going to keep the peace and not loose that fun light-hearted vacation vibe the whole way down to the beach?

I decided I'd better craft a plan. I tried to look up road trip entertainment ideas on Pinterest, but quite frankly it was overwhelming and many of the ideas were geared toward the wrong age group for us.

So I bought some basics (play dough, pipe cleaners, fresh new washable markers, clip boards) and I made up the rest.

First I drew up some 'I Spy' sheets, with words and pictures so both kiddos could play. They tend to play this on their own but they get stuck on the same thing over and over (I spy something big and blue! The sky? Yes! My turn! I spy something big and blue........) Along with these sheets I also found some free mazes, connect-the-dots, letter trace pages, and beach-themed coloring pages from a Google search, printed them off, and clipped them to the boards.

Next I bought two cheapie blank pads and filled them with sections of activities, followed by sections of blank pages for whatever they might want to create. Mimmy, Pappy, and Gramps added some pages, too, and now each kiddo has a custom activity book. Some of the activities are 'complete the picture' (using magazine clippings), 'Ocean Books' by Mimmy that slide out of a pocket so they can sketch what they find on the beach, 'draw yourself as...' using printed photos of their faces, and landscapes they can elaborate on. There are also little treasures sketched by the grandpas that the kiddos will have to flip through to find.

Finally I converted two shoe box-sized boxes into finger puppet theaters using scrapbook paper and Washi tape to cover up the brand logos. The finger puppets came from Ikea.

We also went to the library where we refreshed our book bags, and we're saving all the new books to look at in the car. The kiddos will of course bring a backpack of their own treasured toys, too, and that'll about do it I think.

My backup plan if all else fails are these 'Bribe Boxes,' for that extra element of hush we may need toward the end of the road...

...and that's that! Wish us luck, they say it'll take us about 6 hours in the car before we're sinking our toes into the sand...