It's Still Summer…Sort Of

Whoever decided to start the school year at the beginning of August never looked at the weather forecast to remember that August is still most definitely summer. We have been in the triple digits lately and it's just wrong for me to be sweating so much at the school pick up. Not to mention that it's hard to hang on to and enjoy the last bits of summer when routine has become necessary and our norm. No longer are we out playing with friends almost every day, spending hours frolicking in the pool, constantly indulging on sugary treats (which I am pretty sure my ob will be throwing a party when the scale reflects this new change) or staying up late into the evening.

It's weird to be in that limbo period. Shorts and tshirts are still a must around here. The air has yet to get crisp and beg for us to come indoors, yet the homework and bedtime routine (to keep everyone sane from the early morning wake ups) beg to keep us inside more often. Dinner has once again become like clockwork, rather than something I throw together once Ian is home. Quiet evenings at home are becoming more necessary. Yet, the sun is still peeking above the horizon at bedtime.

This whole school thing starting in August is just playing with my emotions…it's like I'm the kid again.

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Connor: The first three weeks of school are behind us. Connor loves homework and takes it very seriously. He also "plays" school. He has me, Ian, Isla or even his bear sit down and he schools us on things he's learned. And I've overheard him saying to Isla, "In kindergarten you can't just get out of your chair. You get in trouble for that." or "Isla, they don't wipe your bum in kindergarten."

Isla: So proud of her playdoh creation. A submarine, in case you didn't know. Connor told her it looked like a volcano and all hell broke loose…until she decided it was a submarine volcano.  

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

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The Fireman That Wanted to Be a Cop, But is Fine Being a Fireman

A couple weeks ago, I saw a SWAT costume at Costco that I thought Connor would love…after all, he has said he wanted to be a police man consistently for two years now. I'm kicking myself now for not just buying it when I saw it. But, the biggest size they had was a 5-6 and I was afraid it wouldn't fit him. Anyway, we headed to Costco this weekend and I made the mistake of telling him about the costume. And, of course, they had none left. But, like the champ he is, he easily settled on this fireman get up instead. He has literally worn it non-stop since…with nothing on under it, as he likes to publicly declare to people…to which one lady responded, "If only you were 18." Oh man.

^^ Connor affectionately calls the axe "the keys to the city". In fact, I haven't heard him refer to it as an axe once. When he had his fire station field trip in the spring, that is what the fireman called the axe. The memory on this kid, I tell ya. 

Connor goes all the way in wanting to be legit in his get up. He wears his rain boots with it…and even leaves the pants and boots standing in a pile for quick dressing like firemen do. He tried having me add his goggles to the helmet, but wasn't sold on the idea, so took them off. My favorite part about all this may just be when Connor said to me slightly concerned, "What if some firemen see me and think I am lost and make me go back to the fire station with them?"

It's childhood imagination like this I love so much. Still feeling like the sky is the limit and you can be anything you want to be. I really do love the innocence and freedom that comes with being a kid.

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Coffee Happenings

I thought it would be fun to write every once in a while about our coffee business. Just to remember how it all started and how it all went. Plus, it seems to be the first thing people ask me about these days when I see them. Now, this is something we never intend on becoming Ian's main job, but a side business meant for fun and just see where it goes.

Over the weekend, we participated in our second event that we sold coffee at. The first one was in June  at Four Friend Market (a small business market three of my friends and I hosted). It was a huge success. Ian sold a ton of both french press coffee as well as cold brew. He also sold a bunch of bags of whole beans. Ian is definitely the social one of the two of us, so really he spent a lot of time chatting with people about coffee, while I served people that wanted to buy stuff ;) This past weekend, we were asked to have a table at the one year anniversary of a local cafe, LAMO Cafe in Turlock. They had one other local coffee roaster, as well and the coffee roaster that supplies the cafe with it's coffee. The event itself was packed. We did sell a lot of whole bean coffee, but not as many cups of coffee, as most people bought coffee from the actual cafe on their way into the event. As a result of the event, Ian now has bags of his coffee on the shelves in the cafe for sale. This is the second location he is now in. He is also in Barley & Wine, a beer and wine supply store in Modesto.

Another exciting opportunity that Ian is doing is barrel aging a batch of coffee in a whisky barrel from a local distillery, Do Good Distillery. The green coffee will sit in the whisky barrel for a month, then Ian will take it out and roast it. I have to admit, I was crossing my fingers that the barrel would stay at the distillery, but low and behold, Ian showed up with it at our house about a week ago. It actually is really cool looking and nowhere near the size of a wine barrel, so I am fine with it. Plus, I am starting to accept the fact that coffee related paraphernalia is literally starting to take over my house. I thought toys were the number one thing in my house, but coffee stuff is quickly catching up…and may soon pass up toys.

All exciting stuff aside, Ian is still roasting at least once a week, sometimes twice. I generally label, weigh, bag and heat seal all the coffee while he is roasting. Cold brew in 64oz growlers has been a huge hit this summer and we have been selling 5+ gallons of it a week. People still pick their coffee up from our front porch. Sometimes I notice them, sometimes I don't. Sometimes one of the kids will come inform me someone was just there. There is something kind of charming about people picking up a locally made product right off the sellers front porch.

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Connor: Wearing his fireman suit out in public, Connor was afraid the firemen might mistake him for a fireman not at the station and make him go back to the station. 

Isla: This girl seems to be loving having her brother in school in the mornings. I really do think her favorite part is being able to go in his room and play with all his toys without him there getting mad at her.  

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

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All About Connor

I always have the greatest of intentions of doing regular interviews with my kids. But somehow, I always manage to forget…or really never think about it unless I see someone else post a cute interview with their kid. 

This week, Connor was supposed to fill out this all about me poster for school. It was fun asking him the questions and hearing his answers. And, it reminded me how fleeting this time is and how I really do need to remember to do interviews with the kids…maybe for their birthday's? Anyway, here is the responses that Connor gave for his school poster. 

My favorite...
Color: blue
Animal: chickens and bunnies 
Food: cake and hawaiian pizza
Book: my space book
Sport: tball
Thing to do at school: lunch time and play outside
Thing to do at home: build creations with my legos

I am a star because: I played tball
I show others I care by: hugging them, kissing them and playing with them

Three supercool facts about me:
1. I was born in Scotland
2. I really like Disneyland
3. I'm really good at building legos

I noticed a little theme in there with the legos. Not surprising because they really are Connor's favorite toy and he spends a lot of time every day playing with them. The answers that really got me were his favorite animal being chickens and bunnies. And the hawaiian pizza threw me for a loop because we really don't eat pizza much…maybe we should have it a little more often if it's Connor's favorite food! 

Now to get started on my own little list of interview questions so I can interview the kids for their birthdays this year. Of course, remembering and actually executing the interview are most of my problem! 

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How I imagined a first day of ballet picture being: 

How Isla imagined a first day of ballet picture being: 

After the success of Isla's little six week ballet course in the spring, and her talking about ballet all the time since, we took the leap and signed Isla up for the season this time. It started last week and ends in June with a performance…which, I have to admit, I am already so stinking excited about seeing her all dressed up in her little outfit for the performance.

During the spring course, two of her friends were in the same class. It wasn't until we were at ballet that Isla realized her friends weren't doing it with her this time. For a second, I thought it all might go downhill fast, but she seemed to quickly recover. She was very excited about class and really enjoyed herself. Her class is at an odd time (not for us, but apparently mid-afternoon classes aren't popular), so it is really small. I really like that it turned out like that. And, watching little girls do their warm up stretches is about the cutest thing ever…behind watching Isla try to stare at herself in the mirror the entire class time, which is just so dang funny.

I'm excited to watch Isla do something that she is really excited about, to watch her grow and learn and interact with a new group of people she has never met before.

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School's In Session, Back to the Bedtime Routine

^^ Don't act like you don't sleep with an umbrella as well! You know, for those times that maybe there will be a storm and the roof will leak or something. Or, maybe just because it is your current favorite possession. 

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not one to run to for sleeping children advice. After all, my second born didn't start sleeping through the night until she was two and a half. And although I've gone through seasons of being strict about bedtime, this summer certainly hasn't been one of those times. We've stayed up late most nights. Connor always rises with the sun. And Isla, she is my sleeper-inner…arising generally sometime around 9:30am.

With Connor going back to school and school starting at 8:25am, I knew something needed to be done. I could not let every single morning for the next nine months be a disaster…because seriously, waking a sleeping Isla is pretty much always a disaster. So, I started getting strict about bedtime again. Everything is done - quiet time, teeth brushing, books read - and lights are out by 8pm. Connor can generally fall asleep pretty quick and Isla has been falling asleep before 9pm, which I consider a win…as it had been 10:30 and starting to creep toward 11. This makes mornings easier.

I have actually been having to wake Connor in the mornings, which is totally out of character for him. Of course, over the weekend, he was up at 6am, but come yesterday morning, it was back to waking him again! I wake him about half an hour before I wake Isla and things have been going pretty smooth. Isla goes back to school in a couple weeks and I think her start time being half an hour after Connor's will work well because she doesn't like to eat for a while after she wakes up, so I am thinking her eating in the car on the way to school will work well for her.

And, guess what? One week in, I am feeling better about getting up oh-so-early…better than I was last week, at least. It's been a while since I've had to consistently get up early. I guess it's time I find a routine for myself again as well!

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Connor: He seemed disappointed that he didn't get any homework the first week of kindergarten!!! So, I pulled out a workbook for him to practice his writing. 

Isla: She started ballet this week. She realized when we got there that none of her friends were in her class. I thought it may be disastrous, but she totally rebounded and had a fun time in class. 

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

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The Ever Changing Role of Motherhood

Motherhood is one of those interesting things. It keeps you on your toes. Just when you think you know what you are doing, everything changes.

It starts out slow. Diapers, nursing, rocking. Soon solid food is involved. Then crawling and walking. Then getting into things you don't want them to get into. I remember being in that phase at home with both kids where we didn't have anything going on. One of my friends told me to enjoy it because it would pass all too quickly. And pass it has. Now I realize how precious it was. I won't ever have that phase with this new baby. From the beginning it will be go, go, going along with the rest of us and all our commitments.

This whole five days a week kindergarten thing has thrown me for a bit of a loop. And just when I was trying to wrap my head around it, another parent at school said, "And here's the next 13 years of our lives." So true. It just doesn't stop. After half day kindergarten begins school all the freaking day long. My little boy will be away from me for so long!!! I know, I'm drama.

But seriously, everything is always changing. I remember being oh-so-freaked-out with the idea of leaving Connor at preschool with strangers. People I didn't know! Sure they ended up being ladies I totally loved, but in the beginning I was leaving my baby with strangers. And I survived.

Now I find myself getting used to a new normal. One that will feel so normal in the not so distant future. One that, before I know it or even want it to happen, will be past and no longer the norm. So I guess as this fleeting roll of mothering young children rushes by me, I only have one piece of advice for myself. In fact, it's a piece of advice for myself that I've had for y-e-a-r-s.

Carpe diem.

Seize the day.

Jessica, enjoy all those drop offs and pick ups. Enjoy the fact that Connor still grabs for your hand when he leaves school. Love that he will tell you about his new friends and will talk about his teacher. This little kid thing will be gone before you know it. And I know you love it. So enjoy it.

Pardon me while I go cry in a corner. What?! I do have crazy pregnancy hormones pumping through my system! And my little boy is growing up!!!

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Santa Monica Pier

I remember at the beginning of the summer when we were trying to plan some fun things to do as a family, our summer was already so booked up, we had to plan everything for the end, right before Connor started school. A week ago we headed to LA for a couple days. We took the kids to the Santa Monica Pier at the suggestion of my mom. Seriously, this place is awesome for kids. The day wristbands are totally cheap and the lines actually were really short. The kids had so much fun and were done after about three and a half hours…which was like a million rides because there was literally no wait for any of the kiddie rides.

I didn't get a wristband, but Ian did so he could go on some of the bigger rides with Connor. While they did that, I hung out in the kiddie area with Isla and let her ride rides. The only downfall, I would say, is there is not much seating. I was making a beeline for an empty bench and this guy stepped right in front of me and sat in the MIDDLE of the bench. Then he had the nerve to stare at me like "What?" I seriously wanted to smack him, stealing a bench from a pregnant woman.

^^ On the way out, one of the kids spotted a photo booth and went running to it. Given that I am a sucker for those things, and it didn't cost an arm and a leg, we all scrunched in for a little photo sesh.

It was a really fun time and I highly recommend the pier to anyone with kids. It sure is different than the days that Ian and I used to spend in Santa Monica when we lived down there. In fact, he said it sounded fun to walk around, but not with the kids with us ;) Especially not with two tired kids…and we were stroller-less. Either way, I think it's fun to experience new things with kids that we never would have done without them. Isn't that what being a parent is all about, being given a pass to act like a kid again?!?  

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Connor's First Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday was Connor's first day of kindergarten…which seriously, I can't spell kindergarten!!! Why is it such a hard word to spell?! But back to Connor. Given that he has been excited to go to kindergarten for months now, I wasn't worried at all about how he would do. We went shopping for his backpack a week and a half ago and he was so incredibly excited. I thought for sure he would pick a minion backpack, but he ended up with R2D2 and is very happy with his choice.

There were tons of parents and grandparents hanging around waiting for school to start. The kindergarten has its own playground and when it's time for them to go to class, the teacher blows the whistle, the kids line up and go in. The teacher warned us ahead of time that parents would not be allowed to accompany children inside. Connor was hyper and having fun running around playing before school…he wasn't like many of the other kids clinging to their parents side. The teacher blew the whistle, he grabbed his backpack and ran to get in line. It was a little weird seeing him walk in that classroom. But it is a good weird. He is so excited and ready to learn, so I am super happy for him.

After school, Connor told me his favorite part of the day was "when we ate lunch (snack time) and playing". Sounds about right. He also made a friend, but doesn't remember their name. He was actually sad that school didn't last all day and was super bummed that he didn't have homework. Crazy kid! I'm glad he is so excited about school and hope that excitement doesn't wain as the years go on.

^^ That's not Connor throwing a gang sign, but merely me trying to get him to make a "k" for kindergarten. 

^^ It was his idea to show off his backpack in a picture. It lights up and he was super bummed that the lights didn't show up in the picture. 

^^ Waving bye, before going into class. 

Now for me to get the excitement and energy to bound out of bed early every morning for the next several months. It will take some getting used to for this night owl of a mama to adjust to early mornings five days a week…we've never had to do that before.

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Connor: He spotted "a backpack you can drink from!!!" at a sporting goods store a few days ago. When I told him dad had one at home he could use, he was pretty dang excited. And he literally has worn it numerous times since…sometimes including a snowboard helmet and goggles, making him look like a little sky diver. 

Isla:  Oh my late night owl. Why wouldn't you be making faces at yourself in the mirror of your jewelry box at 10pm?! With Connor starting back to school this week, we have been working on a better night routine again and Isla is starting to adapt and not stay up so late

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

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