Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On Organizing our Schedules

I don't know how families with kids in sports and various other school activities do it.  We aren't there yet and are already so busy.  It's just going to get worse!  I love/need to be organized otherwise I feel completely overwhelmed.

Our current calendar system works well for us.  I hope it will continue to work as we start adding sports and other activities into our schedule in the near future.

We use the Google calendar. And by use. . . I mean we have about six different calendars that are all color coded and connected.  I realized yesterday that we'll soon need to give Joseph and Jacob their own colored calendars as well.  Here is a shot of our current month:

You may be thinking that it doesn't look that crazy.  And really it's not compared to some, but I also removed Christopher's personal and work calendars for privacy reasons.  I can usually see all of his meetings which is really helpful in scheduling doctor appointments, etc.  One recent addition is the menu calendar.  I used to just make a list of our weekly menu.  However, Christopher suggested adding the new calendar to our Google collection and it has been awesome.  I tease him that he wanted to be able to look up our menu just to see if he wanted to come home that day or schedule a work dinner.  But seriously, this way I can look back at previous months and see what we've had and get ideas for the menu or realize we've had something a little too often.  I can also attach the link to the recipe in the notes so I don't have to go hunting.  This has been one of my biggest time savers in menu planning lately and that thrills me to pieces.

Our current calendar categories:

Family Schedule
Emilie - personal schedule
Christopher - personal schedule
Christopher - work schedule
Community Group

And to all my crazy, busy friends with kids in T-ball and basketball and ballet and soccer. . . . . if my calendar system completely falls apart when we get to that stage I am coming to you for help.  Get ready.

Summertime Fun!

So - Joseph has 1.5 weeks of preschool before he's home for the summer.  Joseph and I haven't had three months of solid time together since we moved to Arkansas.  Whatever will we do?!

My friend Jenny posted a fun list of summer activities on her blog the other day and I fully intend to "steal" some of them . . . or join her and her fun boys in doing them.  :)

There is also a free movie series that starts in June.  The movies are shown on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and we are looking forward to seeing some of them.

I have noticed that Joseph doesn't do super well with random free-play time.  He needs structure.  He needs to be learning or he gets restless and a little "just plain pick on my brother" moody.  So I've been scouring the internet/pinterest for fun projects to occupy his time.  His preschool has done such a great job at getting him ready for Kindergarten.  At my recent orientation meeting at the elementary school we were given a list of things they would like them to know upon arrival.  Joseph knows almost everything on the list in addition to other things they said they would be teaching this year.  (See - excellent preschool!)  But there are a couple of things we need to work on.

1) Spelling our last name.  Let's face it - that's a hard one for anyone.

2) Writing our address.  Joseph can recite our address well but we will work on writing it.

3) His phone number.  Since we don't have a home phone, this one is a little hard to tackle.  But we will work on him memorizing mama and daddy's cell phone numbers.

We've also been working on our bike riding skills which are getting much better!!!

What else can we get into this summer????

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mother's Day Loot!

from my sweet babies. . . 

Another Pinterest-ing Craft

As I mentioned before, Joseph will be leaving his wonderful preschool at the end of the month so he can enjoy a summer break before Kindergarten.  However, I didn't want him to miss out on any fun with his friends and wanted to be able to hand out something than just a note with his phone number.  And what do you do when you need a great idea?  A little Pinterest hunting!!

We used this Have a "KOOL" Summer idea and replaced the play dough recipe with Joseph's contact info and a little note to his friends.  

The Scrapbook Dilemna

To scrapbook or not to scrapbook?  That's the big question.  I have seen a lot of ornate, detailed scrapbooks. The aisles at Hobby Lobby taunt me with their stickers and colorful papers and fancy albums.  As a mom I want to preserve all the details of my babies' lives but the prospect is daunting.  So I have come up with a few "non-stressful" ways to keep up that work for me.

Photo books.  I love photo books and there are always great deals on them. . . sometimes free!  I use them to preserve my sweet brilliant babies' craft projects.  About once a month I round up the pile of paintings, drawings, doodles, etc. and scan them.  Then I sort the images into the appropriate file folder on my computer. We have a file for each child and then sub-folders for the year.  And since I love organization, under the year we have sub-folders for home, church and school.  This makes life pretty easy when I make the photo books later.

What I put in the Photo Books?
Pictures of my child wearing his Dr. Suess Hat, crown, etc.

Here are a couple finished products:

Scrapbooks.  There are just somethings that can't be put in a photo book.  So I scrapbook.  My scrapbooks aren't fancy.  There are no fancy papers or stickers.  (Well, there used to be.  But, overwhelming!!)  They preserve the most important things.  Things that you just can't appreciate properly in a photo book.

What do I put in Scrap Books?
Birthday Cards
Valentine's Day Cards
Tickets to first football games and first movies
School Crafts that include my babies' hand prints or that are just extra special

Here are a few pages for example:

I'm working from my theory that, in the future, my children won't care how perfectly or ornately their memories are displayed.  They will just enjoy the memories.  I know I enjoy looking through mine.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

best. salad. dressing. ever

Once upon a time I made pasta salad.  I opened my fridge to pick out a dressing and found this.  

I don't know who brought it to my house.  I don't know how it got in my fridge.  All I know is that it did and I am so thankful.  It. is. ah-mazing!!!  I may have oversold it to my husband because he wasn't quite as enamored as I. (He still liked it, just didn't blow his socks off as he was expecting.)  However, you should find this dressing and try it.  I found it at Kroger.  

I made my pasta salad with cheese tortellini, grape tomatoes, carrots, yellow bell pepper, broccoli and red onion.  Super pretty and super yummy!  It is wonderful as a side dish but also excellent as the main dish with some chicken shredded on top.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pre-K Graduation

 How did this kiddo get so big?  One minute he was born and the next he was graduating from preschool.
 His school always puts a great deal of effort into all their programs.  This event was no exception.

 The family is ready!  Joseph's grandparents, aunt and two cousins drove down to surprise him.
 Joseph's class performing.

 Slide show!

 Our graduate receiving his diploma.

 Grandpa entertaining the toddlers. . . . 
 Final performance with all the graduates.
 Family picture time!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

First Day of School

 Today was Jacob's first day of preschool!  We took him out for a special "first day of school" breakfast at IHOP.

Then it was off to school!

He grabbed Daddy's hand and ran in to the school.  He started running for Joseph's class as soon as he got in the door but was easily redirected to his new classroom.

Ready for a day of fun and learning!

This afternoon when I went to pick him up he was sitting nicely at the table with his new friends enjoying a snack.

He was excited to see us.  His teacher said he had a great first day and took a nap!

Monday, May 7, 2012


For lack of a better way to write it - this is what we posted on Facebook on Friday

"Yesterday we found out that our sweet baby was not meant to be held in our arms here on earth. We are sad but live in confident Hope of eternity. Thank you to our "family" for surrounding us with your love and prayers during this time."

There is so much more I want to write but just can't at the moment.  We are hugging our sweet boys extra close and answering lots of questions from a certain 5-year-old which has been surprisingly therapeutic.  

"NOW may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" - Romans 15:13 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"I Draw?!"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bedtime Prayers

Last night I was tucking Joseph into bed.  We said his prayers and our ritual "good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite. . . . etc."  I was getting ready to turn off his light when he called me back and said, "mama will you help me pray to Jesus and that I won't have any bad dreams with doggies or monsters or calculators that scare me and eat me?"

pause . . . .

me: "do you think that a calculator could eat you?"

Joseph: "well, it could!"

me:  "yes baby.  I will help you pray."