Dropping Off the Planet + Life Lately

Hi there!  Wow, fall is super busy for me!  I know some people just love this season, but it is always just too much of EVERYTHING for me after the relaxed pace of summer.  Hence…no posts since late September!  It’s like I just fall off the planet until about holiday time.  I bet other teachers would agree with me.  Things don’t seem to smooth out until Halloween.  Well, what is all this busy-ness we’ve been up to you may ask???

Helen’s been chilling at daycare…

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Holden’s been playing soccer…1 practice and 1 game a week except for our rainy spells.  I get to hang out with Miss Lovely on the sidelines.  Thankfully, we’ve had mostly warm weather which is good considering the 5 o’clock practice time.

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He built a fire truck and saw lots of firemen with their fire truck at the Home Depot Kids’ Workshop on one rainy Saturday.  We were glad to have C-Pa and Meme join us for this Saturday fun which also included PIZZA!IMG_4197.jpg

We all went to the Neptune Festival at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  Although no purchases were made (lots of art and artisans there), Holden score lots of free loot.

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He only tortured his sister slightly with it…

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I got a bang trim to prepare for my sis-in-law’s wedding which is THIS WEEKEND!  Can’t believe it’s almost here!

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I’ve still been doing running/working out when I can.   I signed up for a 5K the Saturday after Thanksgiving to keep me motivated.  I’m looking forward to a fast, short race.

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I got to do a trail run recently, and it was wonderful.  I just ran for enjoyment – not time or distance.  Saw lots of pretty scenery and just basically soothed my soul!

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until this happened…

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I tried to jump up on a fallen tree blocking the trail.  I was coming from downhill and didn’t have enough forward momentum.  Took a tumble!  Don’t worry…I eventually made it over after a couple of similar attempts.  It is still a quite lovely scabby mess.

We experienced some of Hurricane Matthew and lost power for a little over 24 hours.

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Lots of dog cuddling…

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I baked the above “chocolate cake” in the toaster oven on our one cord coming from the generator.

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Hunting season has started for the Mr., so we are doing our best to tough it out without him.  I think we did pretty OK.  I had my right-hand-boy with me while grocery shopping last Saturday.

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Aren’t those kid-sized carts adorable?!?!  He is such a big helper!

 

Back to School Decor & More!

The final countdown is definitely on!  Today is our last official full day of the three of us.  Tomorrow is Holden’s last day of summer camp.  His camp had an Olympic theme, so tomorrow is “closing ceremony” day.  Isn’t that the cutest!  We also visited the home daycare that Helen will be off to on Monday morning to drop off a crazy amount of supplies.  With all the forms and things to buy, I felt like we were sending her off to college or something!  I know I will be a hot mess on Monday morning for several reasons…1)  I will have to be up and out the door WAY earlier than my normal for the last 4.5 months (hoping to be in the car on the way no later than 6:45 each day!).  2)  I’ll be thinking/worrying about how the loading and dispersing of children will go for the Mr.  3)  I feel way attached to Helen (sorry Holden!  Mommy loves you!) at this point in her life versus how I felt about Holden and going back to work.  4)  I have to figure out how/when/where to pump for this continued breastfeeding project.  5)  I’m going to have OODLES to do when I get to work!

Let’s defer that hot mess-ness for a few more days!

On this last full day, we are planning to do a few simple summer favorites.  A trip to the playground and the library is on the agenda.  Holden also made a special request for a visit to our local frozen yogurt place.  I’m totally in agreement!  We plan on heading there after lunch.

In an effort to be a little more excited about back-to-school, I purchased some inexpensive decorations at Target back in July.  I really love how the few items look on our mantle.

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I always feel unsure how to decorate for this time of year.  Summer’s over, but fall stuff seems silly!  I am excited about lots of events this fall.  Let’s list a few and focus on some fun!

  • CHKD Make-a-Scarecrow – This is a great local event that benefits the children’s hospital.  All proceeds go to the hospital!  We’ve done it for the past three years.  My mom has always been a main participant, but we’ve had Aunt Dee Dee, my dad, and the Mr. join us for some years.  Register here!
  • Aunt Brooke & Uncle Michael’s Wedding – We’re looking forward to that in October!  Holden is the ring bearer.  We’ve already got him measured for his dapper outfit.
  • Pumpkin Carving – I can’t wait to do all these little things with Helen.
  • Halloween! – Our Granny is coming to visit for the big day.  Holden is dictating an Indian theme for everyone, and he is insistent that he needs a spear, tomahawk, bow & arrow, plus any other possible projectile weapon his brain can think up!
  • Hunting Season – Not my most favorite time of the year, but I am happy for the Mr.  He works hard all the time wether he’s at actual work or at home.  Plus, he’s a pretty good at the leisurely “family” stuff aka schlepping our stuff to the beach this summer and just generally packing the car (and unpacking!) for all of our trips.  Not to mention all the other things he does to make “us” work!  I hope he has a great hunting season!
  • Opera – My sister wants to go to the opera for her birthday.  I am not an opera person, but I’m always up for spending time with my mom and sister.  We’re hoping to go to The Barber of Seville when it’s in town in November.  If you’re local, buy tickets here!
  • Soccer Season – Holden (and we are too!) is so excited about soccer starting up again!  I was on the fence about signing him up for the fall season, but I think it will be great.  We got him some cleats this time which he is in love with (gently used cleats for $9 – great for feet that grow fast!  We got them at Play It Again Sports.).  He even played outside on Wednesday morning for about 40 minutes.  I got quite the view while I finished my coffee and breakfast!

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Isn’t that a good nail polish color?!  It’s Sonic Bloom from Sally Hansen Insta-Dry.  Get it here!  I have absolutely no time for nail polish that takes forever to dry!  

  • Thanksgiving – I just love Thanksgiving.  We visit family on the Eastern Shore for this holiday.  I confess that my most favorite part of Thanksgiving is that it is the official start of the CHRISTMAS SEASON.  After all, my name does mean “Christmas gift!”  😉

 

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

Any favorite fall traditions?

How do you feel about the opera?  I’m thinking my mom will either hate it or have a Julia Roberts’ experience in Pretty Woman and love it.  Can’t wait to see!

Have a great Thursday!

Natalie

P.S.  I linked up with Annie and Natalie today!  Go over and check them out!

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“Are we there yet?!” Half Marathon Talk and End of Summer List

Hi there!  This week is zooming by!  Exactly seven days left of summer vacation {not counting the weekend} for us.  Whomp whomp.  This is how I feel about that…

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I actually sent this picture to the Mr. when he asked me what I was cooking for dinner on Monday night.  I am/was cooked out after Helen’s big weekend!  Daddy to the rescue!  He’s grilled up whatever I’ve put in front of him so far this week.  We’ve had grilled chicken and hot dogs.  I’m going to miss grilling season aka less dishes to wash season.

P.S.  The dogs pictured below were super good!  Courtesy of my fave, Trader Joe’s.

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So I was pretty cranky yesterday, and I absolutely hate that!  It was a terrible combination of a hot, muggy day that kept us inside AND a lot of organization to do.  Trying to organize with two kiddos (and Helen’s not even mobile!) will make one cra-zay.  I did manage to get our bathroom closet and linen/craft closet reorganized, consolidated, and just generally more presentable.  I also tortured myself more by having Holden try on ALL his pants, shirts, coats from last winter to determine what new stuff he needs.  Oh.my.  I’m not sure who had less fun, me or him.  I can happily report most his shirts still fit, but he did need all new pants.  Online shopping to the rescue!  Done!

I really think my crappy mood stemmed from not being about to do much in the exercise department recently.  I had a bunch of food pain after a long run last Thursday morning.  Please hide your eyes from the picture below if you are squeamish…

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My frightening toenails are all shades of yellow to purple.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to {eventually} lose the nails on the three middle toes.  😦  Not sure what is going on with my feet, but I know my mind and the rest of my body parts are willing to really go for it in this upcoming half-marathon.  My feet, however, are not cooperating.  Helen and I spent some quality time at the local running store today, and I did come home with a new pair of shoes.  Yes, I just bought new shoes in June.  This goes against every fiber of my fiscally conservative body.  However, I really don’t want to NOT be able to race in just a little over two weeks.  I bought a whole size bigger shoe.  I wear an 8.5 in regular shoes.  Previously, I’ve worn a 9 in running shoes.  I’m now up to a 10 in New Balances.  What?!?  Yes, I also switched brands to allow for more toe room based on how New Balance designs shoes.

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I immediately came home and tried them out on the treadmill while Helen napped.  Results:  Felt good…no toe pain…still side of the foot – left foot pain.  All in all, I’ll take it. I’m thinking that I will just have to take about 6 weeks off from running after the half to let my foot totally recuperate.  Not cool, but it’s also not cool to have pain.  I feel like I’m saying just a little longer…hold on just a little longer feet!  I can’t wait to run this race, and then just chill on running.  Today I ran 3.6 miles. Here’s my last mile…

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What else isn’t cool around here, you ask?  Our leaky chimney!  The Mr. determined that our paneling {yes, aren’t we cool!} is buckling due to a leak.  I’m very appreciative of his conscientious handy work, but I was less than thrilled when he decided to get a crow bar out at start whipping down this wall at 7:30.  I just wanted to watch the Olympics in peace with a brownie and my favorite guy {<-he was on a one way track to “fix this wall or bust”).

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Yikes.  This project continues tonight.

This morning I became painfully aware of how many loose ends that I want to tie up before I head back to work.  I was filling out Miss Helen’s pile of paperwork for daycare!  Let’s see how I’m doing on my “End of Summer” list!

House Stuff:

  • Make a chalkboard sign for the kitchen Delegated to the Mr. – He’s going to finish it up soon!
  • Redo hall pictures  Done!
  • Clean out summer clothes  Not yet
  • Put prints in photo album  Done!
  • Buy blender for baby food making  Done!

 

Me Stuff:

  • Renew blog?  Always torn about this!  I’m always really into it in the summer, but I tend to fall off in the other seasons.  Renewed!
  • Keep running (and lifting and yoga and just fitnessy stuff)  Trying to stay injury free!
  • Get ready to do budget recon in September – I plan on writing down EVERYTHING I buy in the month of September.  Oh.my.
  • Get a haircut! – I haven’t had one since March! Did this!
  • Organize school papers/materials that I brought home in April (seems like a lifetime ago)  Organized and ready to head back to school
  • Read 2 books for fun  Yes!
  • Eat as much watermelon as possible  Sadly my last two have been duds!  Maybe the season is over!

 

Holden’s Stuff:

  • Finish baby book – Yikes!  I really fell off the bandwagon with this one.  I’m trying to be inspired by Helen’s and finish up Holden’s.  😦  got to do this!
  • Get Holden’s school supplies  Mostly done – just need some pictures to send in with him
  • Get fitted for a little boy tux for Auntie Brookie’s wedding  Yes!  
  • Art Museum Pre-K Day  Tomorrow – excited to see what this is like!
  • Visit Farmer’s Market
  • Maybe another fishing trip???  He went clamming instead and loved it!
  • School shoes!  Next week
  • Fro-yo date – Mommy & Holden Next week

 

Helen’s Stuff:

  • Work on baby book  continuous
  • Outfit for Auntie Brookie’s wedding  purchased – not sure about shoe situation
  • Find some cute clothes to fit this growing baby!  Mostly did this!  Just need some bigger onesies and perhaps a few more leggings
  • Review baby food making business – I love this book!    On my list for the next couple days
  • Baptism and Reception – Planning, Decorating, Cooking, and Enjoying!  So did this!
  • Get everything ready for the daycare transition  Mostly ready – just need paperwork filled out by dr. at our upcoming 4 month appointment – we also need to buy diapers and diaper creme to go with her

 

I do have a couple more items to add to the list:  Roscoe for a mani/pedi {much to his dismay} and an inspection for my car.  I also have a couple more books I’d like to spend some quality time with.  I feel like the race is really on to use this time wisely and also enjoy time at home.

What end of summer activities do you take on?

Do you start a new calendar in January or with the school year, September?

Any fun back-to-school traditions?

Have a happy hump day!

Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

September Randoms + Paper Planner Talk

Hi there!  Another week since I’ve said hello here!  The work week is serious stuff!  I’m so glad it’s hump day as we have lots of fun weekend plans that we’re looking forward to.  Last weekend consisted of yoga class, bike rides, church and plus a lovely pick-up response from Holden which included thrashing about in mulch {apparently, he REALLY likes his buds at his new preschool and doesn’t want to go home with Mommy}.  We’ve made some improvements in that area, and I actually got a hug yesterday!  I did cheat slightly and pick him up during snack versus the outside recess time.  Here are a few randoms from my phone…

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How did he get so big?!?!

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Random weekday breakfasts for H and I – The top picture is a mixture of plain yogurt, grapes, and Kashi’s Heart to Heart cereal.

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My Constitution Day twin!  We didn’t plan to show up in our matching Target tops.  🙂

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Online dress shopping for my sister’s wedding – Everything looks good on those models!

September is the time I get all our holiday plans straight pretty much through the New Year.  I confess to having commitment phobia when it comes to my choice of planner.  In recent years, I’ve tried the Lilly Pulitzer planner

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the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley

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the MomAgenda Day Planner

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and I’ve even been using the cheap plastic one given to me by my school in recent weeks!  With the Lilly, I felt like I was being a fake-preppy as I’m not super preppy at all!  I did love the amply room to write in stuff on each day plus the monthly overview.  I like the Simplified Planner, but honestly, I don’t need each day broken down by hour with room to write.  It is also pricey.  The MomAgenda just was okay.  I’ve actually been making out okay with the cheap plastic one from work by color-coding work and home events.  However, it’s starting to look visually messy as things fill in and our days/weekends fill up.  I’ve never tried the Erin Condren LifePlanner.  They are beautiful but quite expensive.

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What is your favorite type/brand of planner?  I just like a paper product for list-making etc!  I think I’m going with the Lilly Pulitzer this year unless I find something better when I stop in Barnes and Nobles this weekend.  I guess I’ll be faking the preppy look with my planner!  Have a great day!

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Checking in…

Well, it has only been almost three weeks since I’ve showed up on here!  I’ve been focusing on “showing up” and attempting to get the school year started for all of us.  Whew!  It is definitely a slightly painful period each year!  I *almost* feel like a routine is coming together both at school and home.  It sure is a lot of work required to get to this point.  I always say things will get better…by Halloween!  🙂

I hope your September has been a little less busy than mine.  We have managed to have some fun too!  I’ve continued my weekly yoga class {pretty sure this is only because I’m paying per visit and I started with 10!}.  We visited family over the Labor Day weekend.  Crabbing, eating, and celebrating were the main goals that weekend, and I would say we achieved them.  My little brother also had a birthday as well as my mom.  We were so glad to get to celebrate a bit, but I’m very much looking forward to celebrating with my mom at the end of the month.

Although I enjoy meeting the new kids, it is hard to remember from June to September how much effort is required to get that structure and routine in place that will guide us through the school year.  My school division adopted a new reading series this year.  There is definitely a learning curve as we are also using a new student record online program as well.  Good grief!  I already forgot the password to one program and got myself {temporarily} locked out!

Here’s a few back-to-school funnies for you!

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Ha!  All images from Pinterest.

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5 for Friday

It’s that time again!  Wow, the days are flying by for me {two weeks left of summer vacation!}.  I’ve really enjoyed being home with H, and I’ll miss him so much once we are back in the full swing of the school year.  I think he may even be looking forward to it as he asks me “when will I eat lunch with my friends?”  Really, dude?!?!?  You’re three!  Mommy is your best bud and top priority, right???  🙂  Here are five randoms on my mind this Friday morning…

{ONE}

H’s school bag – Last year, H’s church preschool that he went to two days a week required a book bag.  Well, the new preschool requires a tote bag.  I love consulting Etsy for random buys like this.  I got him this bag.

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I did really like these too.  Images from Etsy.

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He likes to sling his bag over his head.  Kind of reminds me of an explorer or something.  When I see him at the end of each summer camp day, he always tells me he had fun and a good day at his new preschool.  What answered prayers!

{TWO}

No Naps Here – Well, there may be a quickie, but that’s it.  I think we are saying our formal “good-byes” to H’s longish naps.  Most days, he is quiet in his room for maybe 30-45 minutes.  Then, he asks if it’s time to get up.  No, sir.  Ha!  To provide more of down time for me, I’ve been going into H’s room and putting a few books or something on his bed.  I tell him that he can play quietly in his bed until I come and get him.  This usually lasts for 30-45 minutes depending on lots of variables.

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Yesterday’s “nap!”

{THREE}

Reading! – Who can believe it!?!?!  I’ve actually read some fiction this summer….thanks to my mother.  🙂  I tend to gravitate towards nonfiction (i.e. self-help, parenting, etc.).  I still have some of those I’m working on.

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She highly recommended both of these books.  I think I liked The Shoemaker’s Wife better, but Tiffany Girl was a very easy, quick read about a time in our nation’s history.  I’ve been mainly reading after H has gone to bed or a bit during nap time.

{FOUR}

Popsicles – the obsession continues.  These are AMAZING.  When you’re eating one, you become slightly confused like maybe you’re on some tropical island, and a local just whipped this up for you in the seaside restaurant.  Sounds good, right?

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Seriously, try them if you can.  Dee-licious!

{FIVE}

Cookies – H and I baked cookies for the Mr. and as a treat for the weekend.  As you may remember, the Mr. took 6 flights on Thursday to various locales for work.  We were thinking about him all day, and I thought some cookies might let him know that.

The picture below is terrible.  However, the cookies are very good.  Love this lemon {which I change to lime} crinkle cookie recipe! 

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Yum.

Do you have any favorite “summery” cookie recipes?

Any good summer reads for these last few days?

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Septemageddon

Let me tell you why I feel September is Armageddon Month!  Back to school has been just crazy.  New students (like lots of new students), schedule changes, new teachers/staff to work with, missing records, and oh the meetings!  I have truly been so busy at work that it borders on maniac.  Racing to put out one fire that pops up and then the other.  I absolutely hate this feeling, but I really can’t stand when it spills over onto my family.  All that stress, rushing, frustration just packs up with me and goes right home.  I long for the days of November.  Sweet November!  Routines will be established.  We’ll all know our kids and what they can/can’t do so much better.  I hesitate to say it, but I’ll even take October days over Septemageddon!  The one thing that moving along into the school year can’t fix is how I miss my Holden.  I said, “Goodbye!” to him when he was 6 months old the first time I went back to work, and I felt mostly okay.  I think I may have cried, because I felt like I should.  Last year, I was a bit more authentically upset.  This year, Good Grief!  I mean, I’ve been back for exactly two full work weeks now, and I still can be an unpredictable mess on the drive to work.  What is going on!?!?!  My theory is that as he has grown and is able to communicate more.  I’ve fallen more in love.  I think he feels the same way about me as I now get the “I missed you, Mommy.” when I pick him up.  I know it will fade as the year goes on.  At least, I think it will in theory.  I know the guilt won’t fade of leaving him.  I’m quite sure of that since mom guilty has followed me around since March 8, 2012.  We are blessed with a wonderful home daycare and now {what seems to be} a great preschool.  So wonderful in fact that when I mention it to others, they get a dreamy look in their eyes and say “Oh, yes…we loved it there!”  He’s {mostly} happy as a clam, I’m sure.  I think it is mostly me who is poorly adjusted to life right now.  Since running away to join the circus probably wouldn’t be a good fix, I’m going to keep on showing up at work (go me!), try to rush home to H as soon as I can, be nice to teachers and students {if nothing else, at least be nice!}, and keep my eyes on the calendar looking for November.

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Labor Day Weekend Beach Trip to Assateague Island

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Doesn’t it look like he’s saying “What’s up, Ma?”