Friday, September 28, 2012

Fast Time

Time is going to start to speed up.  Because when life gets busy time slips by at an unbelievable pace. And if September is any measure for the speed of time then we must not blink or it will be Christmas.   With the girls lessons starting up soon we've been savouring every moment of our after school time.  There is a small window between the end of the school day and supper time so we've been filling it with bike rides in the back yard and by stopping in at random parks on our way home.

I don't take my girls to this park very often because they go there regularly with the day care.  But I always make a point of stopping in the fall because the walking path is jaw-dropping when it's all decked out in it's fall colors.  I've always wanted to live on this street.  All the houses have a front view of wide open spaces, majestic, mature trees, and a little playground nestled in between.

I like to be busy... but not too busy.  I like the go, go, go of summer and I like the laid back autumn nights.  I love the hectic shopping, decorating, and planning for Christmas but I also like the do-nothing, TV watching January blahs.  A little bit city, a little bit country.  

This morning Callie told me she wants to be a firefighter because she loves to slide down poles. 
We're always working on balance.  Being careful not to over schedule so that time goes so fast that there isn't any room left for small things.  This weekend we are going to enjoy as many small things as possible before life speeds up next week.

Where does the time go?  I bet the girls' papas would like to know.  Two papas and two birthdays this month.

Time goes fast.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall is here.  
And it is beautiful. 

My morning coffee wasn't on the deck but on the other side of the fence today.  Callie is a rockstar on her Tigger bike since the removal of the training wheels a couple of weeks ago.  And after just a few short weeks of Kindergarten, we are all beginning to adjust to her new school-girl status. Adjusting to letting go and holding on at the same time.  She is walking to school from day care.  I'm still holding on at the school end, watching for her coming up the path but Jon is no longer hiding on the side streets en route.  And I overheard her making her own playdate arrangements for the next time she is at her grandma's house.

But these new signs of independence seem to be countered equally with acts of needing us something fierce. When that school day is over, she is stuck to me like glue.  I hold her through the four o'clock meltdown because all her emotions are bubbling to the surface.  It is a long day when you are five.  When you are tired and hungry and she begs to go straight home and not have to stop at the store on the way.  She needs us to be in the same room as her.  She needs us to be outside with her.  She needs us to watch her do whatever she is doing.  She just needs us.

We went on an adventure to World Rock today.  We haven't been there for a while.  It was a perfectly beautiful day to admire the changing leaves and look for nature's treasures.  The warm sun and cool, fall air was a match made in heaven.  I always get the urge to want to start crafting or baking or painting something this time of year, wanting to get our nest all cozy for winter.  So I went to Pinterest to get some inspiration and began pinning away.  Then I got tired and overwhelmed with all the cool things people do and wondered if homemade toy bins from old pallets are really any better than the plastic bins we have now. 

So I didn't craft, bake or paint anything today.  But I did put on a cozy wool sweater and drink my coffee from a thermos cup.  I day dreamed about fall things and held on to my girls.  Filling them up so their buckets will be full come Monday morning.

And they filled my bucket too. All the way to the top.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Time for Everything

There has been a lot of things happening lately.  

Summer has ended.  
Lexi is three.
Work has begun.
Callie started kindergarten.
I lost my grandpa.
It was uncle Terry's anniversary.  
The leaves are falling.

A little good-bye to summer and a song for grandpa...

A Time for Everything

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


And September brings sadness once again.  I told Callie that great-grandpa will be living in heaven from now on and she is full of questions that I don't have the answers to.  Questions like "How will he get to heaven?  Will he be alive in heaven?  Is anyone else in heaven?"  After I tell her I don't know the answers to her great questions... she makes up her own answers.

"I think grandpa will become invisible and fly with invisible wings or maybe he'll float to heaven because heaven is up high in the sky.  I think you are alive in heaven too.  Your eyes are open.  And remember mom, uncle Terry moved to heaven too.  So there is someone else there." Callie, age 5.

Grandpa, we are preparing to celebrate your life. And we will find comfort in the arms of the large loving family that you created.  We will be stronger together than we are apart.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Day

Yesterday was the big day. It started out all smiles...

We had picked out what she would wear the night before.  A new t-shirt and yoga pants.  We didn't want any clothing issues to upset the start of our day so we went for the tried, tested and true approach.  I put in two hair ponies high up, just the way she likes them,  because with so many new things happening I thought it best to keep everything as familiar as possible. Today was not the day to push for French braids, tweed jumpers and cute mary jane shoes.

Callie was so pumped up for her first day at the big kids school.  She could hardly contain herself...

But she would have to wait.  Because her class didn't start until after lunch.  She would have to spend the morning at day care while I went to work.  I thought about her all morning.  Wondering if I did everything I could to make this transition as seamless as possible.  I was nervous for her and also a little excited because Callie would now be in the same building as me for part of the day.  

When I picked her up at day care after lunch she was still smiling.  She was anxiously waiting for me with her new back pack on her back. She was ready to get this show on the road!  She chatted away to me on the short drive to school.  I pulled into the parking lot and we both got out.  And that's when things began to change.

We started the long walk from the parking lot across the playground to the doors where her class would line up when the school bell rang.  As we walked, Callie became more and more quiet.  I continued talking to her in my upbeat, positive voice, being as brave as I could for her.  Four hundred kids on a playground is loud and scary.  And for all the times I've been in this schoolyard, today was the first time I truly saw it though a five year old's eyes.  

Her eyes were wide. Her fingers were in her mouth.  There was concern in her brow.  She stopped responding to my chatter.

I held her hand as she lined up to enter the school.  The boot room was LOUD and BUSY.  Full of parents and kids and teachers directing traffic.  It was time to put on her new Twinkle Toes and begin her school career.  And here is the last photo...

because this is where things get a little blurry.  All the excitement, all the anticipation and all the nerves were just too much for her to process with reason.  There were tears and shouting.  Words like "don't leave me mom! Pleeeeeeese, don't leave me! No, no, no don't go!!"  And I tried my best to reassure her and explain to her that I will be back soon and that everything will be okay but my words were not heard.  I hugged her sobbing little body and told her I had to go.  Her teacher held her while I left the room and I barely reached the door before my own irrational tears began to hit the floor.

Now one of the perks of having Callie in the same building as me is that nearly everyone there already knows her. And I was able to get regular status updates on how she was doing without having to actually hover outside her classroom door.  As it turns out, she had settled down the moment the door shut behind me.  And the girl I picked up at the end of the day was smiling and full of stories about going to the gym and unpacking school supplies.

As for today, day number two, sister rocked this school thing.  She walked to school all by herself... well sort of.  She walked with one of her best buds, one grade eighter, one dad secretly sitting in a truck, and one mom watching from the school on the receiving end. Phew.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Night Before Kindergarten

It may seem like we've been doing nothing but celebrating Lexi's birthday lately but behind the cowgirl scenes we've been preparing for another big day.  Today was the last day of being a preschooler for my big girl.  After today things will be different. 

Your back-pack is ready to go, packed with your Twinkle Toes shoes and your Care Bear pencil case that mom created, with love, just for you. It was important to mom that you had just what you wanted for this next step, somehow imagining that just the right shoes and pencil case will ensure school success.  You got a fresh hair cut, just a little trim, that caused your golden curls to spring up tight into a cute little bob.  I put a granola bar in your back-pack just in case, and tomorrow, I will fill your Lightning McQueen cup full to the top with water and put it in the side pocket of your bag.  We have been over tomorrows procedures several times, discussing pick ups and drops offs and anticipating what will actually happen in kindergarten.  Mom and dad both read you a story tonight.  I kissed your left hand and curled your fingers over the kiss for you to hang onto in case you need it tomorrow.

A few, short months ago I was not looking forward to you starting kindergarten.  Your dad and I had some decisions to make about where you would go to school and all I wanted to do was quit my job and stay home with you.  I wanted to keep you close and not share you with the rest of the world.  I wanted to protect you from any unsureness you might feel, from teasing and left outedness, from all the "scary" things at school.  We have made decisions for you since the first day you entered this world, always choosing what we felt was best for you.  But none of the choices we've made for you seem to come close in comparison to choosing which kindergarten class will be the best fit.  And if in years from now you wonder why we made the choice we did, I want you to know that the decision was made using every ounce of empathy we have to put ourselves in your shoes and choose where you would be the happiest.

Since making the kindergarten decision and having time to live with it and imagine it playing out in my mind, I am feeling confident that we made the best choice.  And I'm even a little excited for this next big life change.  Because school isn't scary.  And you are going to learn so much and meet new people.  People I don't know.  People with different stories and other perspectives.  And I can see now that I was underestimating you a few months ago.  Feeling sad for me and not appreciating that you are sooo ready for the next act in the show.

We've been holding on for five years...

...and now its time to let go.

Just a little bit.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cowgirl Party

You're invited...

After our trip out west to cowboy country this summer it seemed fitting for Lexi to have a country birthday party to celebrate year three in honor of her new love.  We transformed our back yard into our very own cowgirl ranch. And the sky God's blessed us with beautiful weather for the event.

The only thing missing from this party was an actual horse.  Since we live so far from real cowboy county, horse and pony rides are hard to come by.  I asked around but unfortunately the few horses that do live in the area are not used for kids birthday parties.  We made the best of it anyway. Instead of pony rides, we played some good 'ole country games.

That's my "Ohhhh, good try" face.

Most often, my girls have two parties... we have our family and cousins over in the evening and then we get up the next morning and do it all again with our friends and those who couldn't make it the night before.  If we had more space I would love to have one big party.  Because our family is our friends and our friends are our family, having everyone we love all together to celebrate would make me happy.

The lack of real life horses did not stop the horse races from happening!  There weren't any bets placed at these Downs and as you can tell from the kids shoes, we live in DAWG/CROC country...a very long way from cowboy country.

Of course I had cute little cowgirl outfits for both my girls to wear but their style is their style and there is no convincing them otherwise.  They both have strong counterwill... the more I want them to wear it, the less likely it's going to happen and that's one horse this mom has given up trying to ride.  The meal, on the other hand, would rock any cowboy's world.  Jon outdid himself with the pulled pork and Lexi's best present of all was fresh corn on the cob hand picked and shipped directly from my BFF's garden!  Baked beans, slaw and watermelon also filled our tin plates for a complete country meal.

I love, love, LOVE paying attention to the details.  It is not work for me to stay up late turning water bottles into Yee-Haw Juice or cutting and pasting labels for Country Loot bags.  I get a rush when one idea leads to another and things all start coming together.  Throw in the challenge of not spending a fortune on a three year old birthday party and you have me in my happy place.

People always ask, "How are your going to top this one?"  I don't have an answer for that because I never think about it.  I just do what I can do with the time that I have and if it so happens that it's just balloons and store bought cupcakes...we'll rock that too.  And the other comment that I often get is, "You should go into business."  But we all know that when your "play" becomes outcome based it turns into work and I don't want anymore work.  And it's probably a good thing that my girls birthdays are six months apart because it gives me a good long time to rest and restore my passion for details.

Happy third birthday party to my little cowgirl.  See y'all next time.

Party Details
Very few party ideas are actually my own. Most are simply recreated from other very creative people.
1. Party invite was made by me at PicMonkey and printed at Wal-Mart.
2. Party decorations and cowboy hats can be found here.
3. Wanted poster printable can be printed from here.
4. Country Cookies recipe is here.
5.  Of course, all ideas and more can be found at a little site called Pinterest!