Isla {six years}

Isla has done a lot of growing up and maturing from five to six. She is very girly, loving to put makeup on all the time...even has surprised me a couple times and put it on right before we walked out the door for school, so wore it to school. Thankfully her teacher gets a good laugh out of it and is totally cool with it. She loves Fancy Nancy and Pete the Cat. She loves to color and draw. And sounding out words is her jam. 

Here's a little interview with Isla. Some of her answers made me laugh, like choosing her favorite movie as one she has never even seen. But that's what makes interviews with kids fun, right?

What's your full name? Isla Grace Grimbleby
How old are you?, six
How tall are you? I don't know
What color are your eyes? blue
What color is your hair? brown
What day of the week is it? Saturday? Sunday? Monday? Tuesday?

What is your favorite:
    color - all of them
    food - miso soup
    drink - cotton candy milk and strawberry milk
    ice cream - rainbow sherbet
    toy - my little pony mermaids (she doesn't even have any!)
    book - Fancy Nancy
    song - drops in the ocean
    tv show - My Little Pony and Word Party
    movie - My Little Pony mermaids (she hasn't seen the new my little pony movie)
    thing to do - go to school and spend time with my family
    game - my little pony chutes and ladders
    sport - swimming
    animal - cats and reptiles

Who is your best friend? Ally, Aubriella and Pierson
What is your favorite thing about yourself? I like myself because I just be me

Three things that make you special:
    1. I help others by caring and helping them up if they are hurt
    2. I am a good artist
    3. Because I praise God

And a couple questions Isla wanted to add:
Where is your favorite place to go? the ice cream museum (she hasn't been yet)
What do you want to be when you grow up? artist
What is your favorite thing to do at school? spend time with my friends

Isla loves going to school and is great and remembering people's names. She even remembered her teacher's birthday...apparently Isla asked her at the beginning of the year and Isla remembered the date! She loves drawing and coloring and really doing anything that is arts and crafty. She loves anything little and trinkety. Her stuffed animal collection is out of control, but she loves each one of them and really does. She loves reading books and going to ballet. Tomatoes are still one of her favorite foods, followed closely by anything smothered in cream cheese. She is generous with her smiles (as long as I'm not trying to take her picture) and loves playing with friends. 

Isla has always been my child that will sleep in. She is the last one awake in the house every day, having to be woken up most days. She doesn't like to eat breakfast right after she wakes up. She doesn't like to be cold and will wear a jacket to school on days that mostly everyone else would consider nice. She still prefers her tricycle over bike, though in her defense her tricycle is super cool and not like normal ones...I mean, I can even ride it! She loves otter pops and will help herself to frozen waffles as a snack. She can play by herself for hours. She likes one of us to lay down with her for at least a couple minutes each night and generally comes into our bed in the middle of the night every night. These are just some of the things about Isla that make her her and that I want to remember. 

In case you want to look back, like I always do, Isla at 5 years, 4 years, 3 years, 2 years, 1 year, 6 months, brand new. If you are going to look at any, look at Isla at 6 months. I mean, who can resist a toothless smiling Isla?!

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To Sum it Up

To say that this past week has been crazy feels like an understatement. It started with me getting the stomach flu on Friday and ending up in the ER...and as the nurse said, some fluids and meds go a long way. It allowed me to rally and show up at four friends market on Saturday. Of course, I wasn't fully better and didn't even start eating again until Monday. Then Ian got sick. Not the flu, but more of an extreme exhaustion. On Monday night, Connor got the stomach flu and threw up every 30 minutes to hour all.night.long. This kind of threw off my whole week. I went into sanitizing mode and literally cleaned everything in my house to stop the spread, after all, it's Isla's birthday week. Then, I worked in both kids classes all morning on Wednesday. Yesterday, Callum woke for the day at almost 5am (so still in the 4:00 hour) and NEVER NAPPED. Needless to say, yesterday was fun. But today. Today is Isla's birthday!!! Woot, woot! So we rally. She has a school celebration in the morning and her grandparents are coming over for dinner. Then, her party is tomorrow morning. It's a mani-pedi party at a local salon. Should be nice and girly and lots of fun. Enough about my crazy week. 

Here's some things I came across this week:

If I wanted to spend a lot of money, I would buy one of these dresses

Average grocery bills. I always find this kind of thing fascinating. 

"Body safety" tips for kids. I found this full of great ideas. 

And if you are sarcastic and want a good laugh about motherhood, look up Sanctimommy on facebook. Amazing. 

Alright folks, have a great weekend! We will be celebrating an adorable six year old, so it should be a good one over here.

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Backyard Shenanigans

^^ Pool noodle fights are pretty awesome...and since ours have been sitting out all summer, they aren't all stiff and don't hurt when you are hit. That's a mom win right there, if I've ever seen one.

What exactly does one title a post when all they want to do is go off on how they love having a usable backyard again? I'm asking for a friend, of course. 

But seriously, I forgot what it was like to have a backyard. Sure, we have enjoyed two summers of swimming, but not much else. There really wasn't a play space. Just random bushes in the middle of uneven concrete, and brick, let us not forget the brick. Oh, and while I'm at it, let us not forget the trip hazard of an electrical box that stuck out of the ground six inches and delayed our concrete work two weeks to get rid of...but two weeks that were totally worth it. 

Anyway, we got fake grass installed almost two weeks ago. All the sudden, the rest of the to do list for our backyard doesn't seem to matter because we have a place to play. It is so amazing. I honestly never thought I would love fake grass so much. I just wanted it because Ian isn't exactly a consistent mower and it looks pretty. But it is so incredibly soft and not dirty, so I have been sitting and laying on it constantly. And now that the pool net is back on the pool, the older kids can go out and play by themselves and when I am out there with Callum, I don't feel like my eyes have to be on him every nanosecond. And, all the sudden, I am reminded what it was like when we had a usable backyard. And it's pretty much pure bliss. 

So, here is where you will find us, enjoying our beautiful, soft, green fake grass for the rest of fall. Because, well, it's pretty dang awesome. 

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10 Must Haves from Ikea

I still remember the first time I went to an Ikea when I was 14 years old. I went with my mom for a project she was working on. I remember thinking it was a magical place and left with a beach chair that lived in my room for years. Fast forward to today. Ikea is still a great place to find storage solutions and everyday necessities. Sure, they get knocked for their lack of quality, but if you shop smart there, you can get some really great things for great prices. 

We have probably owned something from every department in Ikea over our 14 years of marriage. Over that time, I've learned what to buy and not to buy from there. I've also learned not to fill my home with all things Ikea, to keep it from looking like it is straight out of the catalog! These days, I tend to stick with smaller items from Ikea, though furniture does make its way home with me from time to time still. We don't live close to Ikea, so maybe go once or so a year. When we go, I usually have a list of my favorite items to get. Here are some of my must haves from Ikea:

  1. Spice racks - I've used them as book shelves, I've used them over changing tables to hold necessities. They are the perfect size and an amazing price. 
  2. Laundry bag - This holds its shape well. It is cheap and holds a ton. Not only does it work great for laundry, it also works great as a toy or stuffed animal bag. 
  3. Throw blankets - Lets be honest, when kids live at home, throw blankets get trashed. They get used to build forts, as a picnic blanket, to cuddle up with and more. These blankets are cheap ($3.99!!!) and hold up great with numerous washings. I personally buy them in grey so they don't show dirt! Though, this blanket caught my eye and will probably be going home with me on my next trip to Ikea. 
  4. Bath mats - These bathmats are a generous size, soft, hold up well and, most importantly, are cheap...which, I was actually shocked about how expensive bath mats are when I went shopping for them last. Even at Target, they all are around $20 a piece. 
  5. Wash cloths - This package of wash cloths from the kids department is an amazing value. I keep them in my kitchen and use them to clean up kids, to wipe the dining room table, or even on the kitchen counters. 
  6. Bookshelf - We actually own three of these bookshelves. They are workhorses, I tell you. They hold tons of books. Put bins in them and they hold tons of toys. I even turned one into a bench, as seen above. 
  7. Batteries - I know batteries aren't what comes to mind when one thinks of Ikea, but at $1.99 for a 10 pack of aa or aaa batteries, these batteries are a steal. I always stock up every time we go to Ikea.
  8. Indoor plants and accessories - They don't have exotics, but they are cheap and healthy and they have many stands, pots and accessories for cheap too. 
  9. Play kitchen and accessories - We bought this play kitchen for the kids five years ago and it still looks great. And you really can't beat the price for a wood play kitchen. Also, the accessories can really be used. We've used the cookie cutters and tray to make sugar cookies before. 
  10. Picture frames - I love things to look uniform, so I love the fact that you can get practically any size ribba frame from Ikea. Plus, they come with mats and I just love mats. And, they are cheaper than mostly anywhere, so yeah. 

What about you, do you enjoy going to Ikea? What items can you not pass up on when you go?

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Hey Monday!

Alright Monday, we are coming for you! 

And not just Monday, but the rest of the week too. It's a busy week ahead of us around here. 

This Saturday is our Four Friends Market. Not only am I one of the "four friends", but I will also be there helping Ian sell coffee. In the mean time, I need to do some stuff for the market and we have to get it all set up. 

This Wednesday is my first time working in Connor's class this year. I started in Isla's a month ago. But I will be woking in both classes on Wednesday, so will be at the school from 8:45-11:45, when Isla gets out of school. 

Connor has been begging to have a friend over and it just didn't work out this weekend, so a school friend is coming over after school today. And Tuesday, Isla has a park play date with a school friend. Poor Callum, no play dates for him yet. But, he sure does love running around with the older kids. 

So, I'm drinking my coffee and hitting the ground running. I am controlling this crazy week and not letting it control me. Boom.

Like I said, I'm coming for you Monday! 

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You guys, toddlers are hard work. But, they are also so incredibly adorable. This little guy slays me on the daily with his little antics. His latest thing is the cheese face. I don't even tell him to smile. I pull out my phone or camera and he poses. It is hysterical. He usually backs up against whatever he is standing near, tilts his head to one side and gives me this toothy smile. It just slays me, I tell ya. 

And here's the thing, dealing with a toddler may be physically exhausting...not only will they wake up endlessly while getting molars, they also will empty the contents of your tupperware drawer ten times a day. But, they aren't to the mind games yet. They unabashedly come to you for a hug. They lay their little heads on your shoulder. They still prefer you over mostly everyone else. They really are great little people and toddlerhood really is a sweet, sweet time. 

I obviously say all this while having to deal with the bigger kid problems that come from school. Just as some day I will probably be yapping about how second grade is a walk in the park compared to junior high...oh junior high. That is literally the time of parenting I fear the most. Such an awkward stage as a person, so I can only imagine having to be the parent of someone going through that. 

But toddler cheese smiles, those are pretty dang awesome. 

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On Learning to Not Put My Foot In My Mouth

I used to be a huge gossip.  This was way back in my high school days. But, you know what? I learned gossip hurts. I've been hurt and I've hurt others. And I just hate that icky feeling of knowing I shared something that wasn't mine to share. Why do we do it? To feel in the know? To act superior to others because other's challenges build us up? Wow, that's awesome...sense the sarcasm

One hard lesson I have learned over and over is my opinions on whatever in your life, or whoever's life, don't really matter. Not even don't really matter. They flat out don't matter. Did you hear that? MY OPINIONS DON'T MATTER. Why should I care how someone else spends their time? Or their money? Or what they eat? Or what they do or don't allow their children to do? If something works for my family, great! It doesn't mean it works for others. And if I don't want other people's opinions, then I shouldn't give mine. 

But I also HATE it when people ask for my opinion, but don't really want it. If you know we are opposites, why ask? Especially when you don't really want it and really are just looking for a fight. I am working on putting up boundaries in this area of my life. Just because someone asks my opinion doesn't mean I have to give it. Imagine that. Now learning to graciously not give my opinion is a whole other story. Because, often times, people push if you refuse to instantly build them up when they are fishing for your opinion. But, I am learning, keeping my mouth shut speaks volumes without me having to. 

That being said, I want SELECTIVE people to speak into my life. Just as I would hope to be able to speak into the lives of selective people as well. These people I care about so deeply that giving them my (well thought out) thoughts and opinions, no matter how hurtful, is important to me. Now, when I say hurtful, I don't mean in the way I say things, I mean in the message. So often, for all of us, the truth stings at least a little bit. Because, let's be honest, people speaking into your life is generally about something you need to grow in and GROWTH ALWAYS HURTS.

I really am working on opening my mouth less and less. Having to deal less and less with the "why did I say that?!" thoughts that plague me for hours after I said something stupid to someone. As I get older, and less flexible, putting my foot in my mouth becomes more and more of a challenge to deal with ;) So I am thinking practicing self restraint with what comes out of my mouth is a much better idea. 

And, on a side note, teaching kids to control their mouths. Wow, that is quite the job! What they can and can't say in different situations. Learning not to be brutally honest with everyone they see. It's all so difficult. Learn from my mistakes children, learn from my mistakes. If only it worked that way

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Last Week

Last week felt like a bit of a doozie. It started off with both Isla and Callum getting sick. Isla only had it for two days. Callum had it all dang week long. It made for a long week. A tired week. A week full of a lot of crying. For the first time in my almost eight years of being a parent, Ian offered to come home one afternoon and let me nap. THAT is what kind of week it was. One night Callum was literally up the whole night. Another, he woke in 15 minute cycles. Then he kept falling asleep during the day and crying inconsolably when I would have to wake him to go get Connor or Isla from school. So many people commented about how they had never seen him cry before. Which he normally doesn't, but he was just that miserable.

I took to bribing Callum with suckers when I would go get the kids from school. But, as soon as the sucker was gone, the crying was back. I also learned that Callum does not like the center of a tootsie pop. I guess tootsie rolls aren't his thing. One particularly desperate day, I went through five tootsie pops picking Connor up from my defense, they are mini tootsie pops. Also, I don't care about defending myself because I think all parents have had days, weeks even, when it is strictly about survival.

But I made it. We made it. We are all still alive. We are all healthy. Mostly. Those coughs that kids get seem to stay around for weeks and weeks and weeks. Isla even asked me why everyone tells her that she has a cold. Haha! As hard and exhausting as it was of a week on me, it is also so hard to watch your baby be sick and miserable, trying everything you can do to help, but knowing they are still miserable. That just sucks.

Here's to hoping we got that out of our systems and don't have anymore sickness in our house for a good long while.

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A Glimpse Into the Life of Callum

I often think about how a picture can tell someone familiar with the situation so much more than just what was immediately captured. Like this picture of Callum. It speaks volumes about where he is right now. But it speaks of things to me that so many others would miss. 

It speaks of how he now just goes in the playroom by himself and actually plays. 

How he is still sporting his Christmas jammies from last year. I bought them a size up and cuffed the sleeves in hopes of getting two Christmas's out of them. It may be a stretch, but I'm still hoping. 

On the table is the cash register that is arguably one of his favorite things in the playroom to play with. 

But the duplos are up there too. He used to just throw them for fun. Now he actually tries building with them. 

Of course, emptying all the contents out of the play kitchen is also one of his favorite things to do as well. 

This picture also tells a little bit about me. Because slow evenings with early bath times, then some play time before bed, are kind of my favorite. 

On a side note, I'm glad I do posts like these. Stages are fleeting. It's so easy to forget some of the really cute stuff your kids did. While writing this on Callum, I came across one from Connor. He's grown up so much in the past couple years, but it was fun to be reminded of his obsession with smoke detectors. 

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A Weekend Fit For Us

I feel like often times weekends are spent doing things that need to be done around the house or heading out on adventures. But it's not often that we do a bunch of things that really speak to each of our personalities and likes. So when this weekend just sort of happened, it had me chuckling about how various things we did suited each of our personalities so well. 

The weekend started off with my brother, aunt and I having a yard sale. Yard sales are the type of thing I enjoy and totally suit my personality. I love cleaning out and I love making a few bucks in the process. Plus, it was fun to spend a morning with my brother and aunt. 

As soon as the garage sale was over, we went straight to buy Ian a car. This man is a bit of a car hoarder, I tell you. Funny story...when we were first married, Ian became friends with his car mechanic. He used to go hang out at the shop on the weekends. The guy was 10-15 years older than us and owned at least 7 random cars. Fast forward 13 years and we currently own 4 random cars...and a practical Honda Pilot. Anyway, added to our collection this weekend is a '92 (or maybe '93?) Volvo 240 wagon. Swedish gold, as Ian said. He promises one of the other cars will make an exit from our family soon. Because, let's be honest, we only have so much driveway space and I refuse to become like our old neighbors that had so many cars, they parked all over their lawn! 

After getting the car, we installed three car seats in it, so we could take the kids out on an adventure. I used some of my yard sale money to buy us all dinner. We let the kids choose where we would go, knowing full well what they would choose, Sushi Garden. It's their favorite, which I find such a crack up, given how picky they normally are. 

Sunday was full of church, laundry, napping, birthday present picking (hoping? wishing?) by Isla, a little self makeover also by Isla, and finished with dinner at our house with my parents and brother. Unfortunately, it also ended with two kids having fevers, but you can't win em all and it still was a pretty dang great weekend. 

Just in case you didn't get how the weekend matched our personalities, the yard sale spoke to my purging tendencies, the car to Ian's hoarding (haha!), dinner being the kids favorite, Isla's makeover and family. Because who doesn't like spending time with family?

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Callum {1 year, 9 months}

Weight: 24 pounds, 8 ounces
Length: 33 inches
tooth count: 16

Likes: climbing on tables, playing with Connor & Isla's toys, popsicles, any toy with wheels, the toy cash register
Dislikes: being put in his car seat, sitting still, being forced to do anything he doesn't want to do

This little guy really has a will, and an independent streak. It's funny how people at the kids school only see him in a stroller, then if they happen to see him outside of it, are surprised how feisty he is...hence the reason he is always in the stroller at their school, haha! But seriously, if he is in a stroller he is content. If I try to hold him, he fights me to the death to get down and run around. After litereally never falling asleep anywhere but his carseat or home, he started napping in his stroller when we went to Boston and still can do it now. 

Speaking of sleep...Callum still wakes at night. He had a bit of a good stretch sleeping through, but then molars or something happened. He usually wakes twice a night. With the kids school schedules, I have been trying to get Callum to nap only once a day. I would love that nap to happen after I pick up Isla, but before I pick up Connor. With Callum getting up early in the morning, he really struggles making it that long and often crashes around 11. But the good news is, if I put him in his stroller when he falls asleep, I can easily take him to get Isla and he stays asleep. Also, because of the one nap a day thing, he goes to bed at 7:30 and does so much easier than before. 

A few  of Callum's favorite things are climbing on anything and everything and playing with the kids toys that they don't want him touching. He seriously gets joy out of listening to them scream. He enjoys listening to them scream so much, that he gets delight out of pulling Isla's hair. No joke. He has a huge smile on his face when he is pulling her hair and she is screaming. He pretty much gets the same joy when he gets in their room and starts grabbing at their toys as they freak out. He also loves climbing in cars, "driving" and touching all the buttons and knobs. Anytime he is around an open car door, he tries to get in and play. In terms of playing with toys, does throwing things count?! It's seriously a favorite past time of his. He also loves stacking anything that's stackable. He has recently gotten in to playing with Connor's old trains and really seems to enjoy them. But, the thing he does most is empty out the entire contents of the play kitchen. Numerous times every day. It's a favorite of his, haha! 

Callum still babbles a lot, but now has more noises that he babbles, if that makes sense. He also now says the words - mom, dad, baa (ball), hi, yeah, no and Isla. He points at things and "talks" a lot, but I obviously have no clue what he is saying. And sometimes, if we aren't getting it, he takes us by the hand and leads us to what he wants. He also knows many of his body parts - head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, fingers, feet, toes. 

Callum's favorite food is probably popsicles. It doesn't matter where he is in the house, when he hears the freezer open, he comes running. He also stands at the freezer screaming numerous times a day. He is still a great eater, though getting slightly pickier. If he doesn't want something, he just throws it...which is just as awesome as it sounds. But any fruit or meat are usually a win with him. About a month ago, I took the tray of the high chair, so he now sits at the table with us. He does try grabbing at other people's food on the table, but he is learning. 

The things I really want to remember about this age are the way it feels when Callum grabs my hand (aka, my finger), how he lays his head on my shoulder when he is tired. How when he knows he's done something wrong, he puts his hands behind his back so you can't grab him. The way he tries to help put his shoes on. 

And here's an "action shot" of what taking pictures of a toddler is really like! 

Just for fun, Connor and Isla at the same age. I can't get over how much hair the other two had compared to Callum! 

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To Sum It Up

We have kind of a busy weekend ahead of us. Tonight we are headed to a 1920's themed party. I normally hate themed parties, but I actually semi got on the bandwagon and am wearing a sort of period dress. Semi and sort...that's about as close as I get for themed parties! Then Saturday it's more backyard work for us before having some neighbors over for dinner. 

Some things from this week:

I made this for dinner last night. It was tasty and the kids didn't whine and complain, so I'm calling it a win. 

I've always just said no to a top sheet, so I got a bit of a kick finding out I'm not alone in this

Speaking of sheets, I am on the hunt for some grey ticking stripe sheets that I don't have to sell a kidney to purchase. Tell me if you see any for a decent price anywhere. 

This. Not only is it important to see life beyone our own tiny circle, it's also important to love and support others. 

I've always been interested in the royal family (yay for baby #3!), so enjoyed this

Whether you have nothing or tons of things planned for this weekend, I hope you enjoy it. 

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A Lemonade Stand

The kids had a lemonade stand on Saturday. Isla actually wanted to have a fruit stand, but settled for lemonade instead. With a projected high of 111, it was the obvious day to have a lemonade stand...NOT. But it all worked out. Ian and Isla made lemonade from the lemon juice I had squeezed from the lemons from my parents tree. Isla made the sign as well. Now that I think about it, Connor really just contributed the tip jar. Our neighbors came out and supported the kids in full force. Their tip jar was overflowing, in a ridiculous way. In fact, the kids are a little mad at me that I have yet to take them to the store to spend that money that is burning a hole in their pockets. The kids even managed to get a couple cars to stop by waving a sign around at the road. And, in what only can be described as a miracle, the kids actually kept their lemonade stand open for an hour and a half...really throwing in the towel because their friends arrived to support them and they wanted to play with them instead. 

^^ One of their customers...which I assume was their favorite customer, haha!

These are the types of things I love about childhood. And these are the types of memories I hope my kids remember from their childhood. The simple, fun ones. The ones that didn't cost much money. The things we said yes to.

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All About Isla

I am sure all kids are different. I totally get that. But some of the differences between boys and girls still shock me, and make me smile. Isla was so excited when she got to bring home her all about me poster to decorate. She wanted to waste no time and start working on it as soon as we got home. Her one request was that it was colorful. She was so into picking the different colors, coloring and drawing little pictures. I'm pretty sure her enthusiasm was much greater than Connor's two years prior. Also, she cares about coloring in the lines and completely much more than Connor did. 

Here is what it said on the poster, since it's kind of hard to read:

My favorite...
Color: pink, blue and purple
Animal: cat
Food: tomatoes and miso soup
Book: Fancy Nancy
Sport: swimmung and ballet
Thing to do at school: learn
Thing to do at home: spend time having fun with my family

I totally did NOT school her on those answers and those last two totally caught me off guard. Sweet girl. 

I am a star because: I'm really good at ballet (also, really humble)
I show others I care by: helping them in any way

Three supercool facts about me:
1. My big brother had the same kindergarten teacher as me
2. I do ballet
3. I'm like to swim

Let us take a moment to enjoy Isla writing her name in all caps, because it will probably be a last, given that they are now making her write it "properly". I will miss seeing that all caps name with the "S" that has changed and improved so much over the past two years that she has been writing. 

I always try to not sway the kids answers on these types of things. I love hearing about their true likes and dislikes. Also, I love hearing about the things that they are proud of. It's really cute and such a good snapshot of their lives at this exact moment. It won't be for much longer that Isla identifies our house as "the green house on Sycamore" or wants to be so many things that it's hard to decide. 

But kindergarten man, it's such a cute age and precious little moment in time.

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Morning Routine

As much as I loathe school starting back up because I once again have to set an alarm in the morning, it also brings much needed routine into our lives. Of course, it also keeps us from having as much fun, but I would rather my kids learn to read and write and stuff than have fun all the time ;) Anyway, one thing I have learned along the way is that a solid morning routine is worth its weight in gold. The kids know what to expect and everything gets done.

My biggest, biggest, biggest tip is that I get up and completely ready before the kids get up. For me personally, being ready starts my day off on the right foot. And not trying to juggle getting the kids ready at the same time as myself is also huge. Sure, sometimes a kid will wake up while I am still getting ready, but they can entertain themselves until I am done...or, if it's Callum, I've been known to just let him play in the shower while I am taking one, to entertain him. Once I'm ready, this is how the morning goes.

7am - Wake Connor. He gets himself dressed and comes down for breakfast. I make him breakfast as well as make the kids lunches, put them in their backpacks and set their backpacks and shoes on the bench by our front door.

7:20am - Wake Isla. I get her dressed purely so she won't wear something crazy to school. Not to mention the fact that most of what she would pick out wouldn't work for the dress code (insert eye rolls here).

7:45am - If Callum isn't already awake, I go wake him. On days he is already awake, he sits at the table with whoever is there and eats breakfast. But, after Isla is fully ready, I go get Callum dressed for the day.

8am - Five minutes before we are supposed to leave the house, I tell the kids to put their shoes on and grab their backpacks. This always takes longer than the 30 seconds that it should, especially since their shoes are sitting out for them! Either way, that's why I allow for 5 minutes. It keeps things more peaceful.

8:05am - We head out the door for school. Now that both kids are at the same school, we walk every day.

In general, our mornings go quite smooth. Somehow, even with all that, I usually manage to get a load of dishes started in the dishwasher, make some coffee and feed myself breakfast.

Honestly, I think the biggest things for us having a smooth morning are me already being ready, thus not rushing around at the same time as them, as well as keeping any decisions the kids make to a minimum. I almost always don't give them a choice for breakfast, just make something. And anything that I think will be a decision for them, we discuss the night before to get it out of the way.

On a side note, I remember thinking a few years ago a fellow mama was crazy for setting her alarm early to be up and ready before her kids. I valued sleep over everything and couldn't understand. Apparently I have changed and now value my personal hygiene a bit more!

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