Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Third day in...

...and I'm still feeling like I can do this. We seem to be getting into some sort of routine and other than the math meltdown from Elaina this morning, all is going very smoothly. I haven't again resorted to using my phone as a distracting device for Nora. Instead, I have really tried to get her interested in working on some "school" projects. I am going to take Caitlin's advice and get her some school-only playdoh, stickers, etc... and I think that will majorly help.

Tomorrow night is my first Parent Information Meeting for our Classical Conversations campus. I'm not even nervous like I thought I would be. I'm just excited and eager to get our classes going. Right now we have ten students and there are two more that I'm hoping will be added before the year starts.

Jason comes home this weekend and he will get to stay home for a couple of weeks. Elaina joined the church last Sunday so we will have her baptism while he is home. We also will go on a date. As I've mentioned before, that's my very, very, very favorite thing to do.

Eily goes to the ENT doctor tomorrow to see about getting her tonsils and adenoids removed. I'm not at all excited about scheduling that surgery. Not on her behalf or mine. It sounds plain miserable. And from what I hear, it takes ten full days to recover. Let's just throw that in the mix with everything else, why don't we?

I hope you are having a lovely week. I'd love to hear what you have been doing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of School 2014-2015

This was a busy day but a really fun day.  Nora proved to be quite a handful- as I knew she would be- but I distracted her (handed her my phone. I know, bad parenting) for a little while and we flew through the schoolwork. The first day's work is always fairly easy. I'm looking forward to tomorrow but I'll have to come up with something else for Nora to do. I cannot use that method of distraction every day. I also cannot spend all my morning entertaining her. I'll figure out something...

I wasn't pinterest-y and didn't print out adorable signs for my children to hold. Instead, they held up fingers to represent their grades. Nora was supposed to hold up a zero but she got mad about that and eventually decided to copy Claire and hold up two fingers. Whatever. I was tuckered out by that time. It wasn't a battle I chose to fight.

She came up with pose all on her own.

I know it's a lot of photos that are very similar, but it's my blog and I liked them all. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Just a quick check-in to say hello and also document the last day of everyone seeming little. Tomorrow, we start our 2014-2015 school year. Elaina will be starting third grade, Claire will be starting second grade, Eily will be starting first grade, and Nora will be a big distraction. :)

We hurried up and ate supper and then the girls picked out what to wear tomorrow. Normally, I wouldn't care what they wore since we are just at home, but I plan on taking some first-day-of-school pictures and it just wouldn't do to have them standing and smiling in nothing but their panties. I'm joking.

Or maybe I'm not.

By the time we finally agreed on the clothing, they were all so excited that they had a hard time settling down and going to sleep. But the sandman finally won and the house is now calm and quiet. I've been sitting on the bed catching up on my CC director-ing stuff and making sure that I'm prepped for tomorrow. I have to get up earlier than the girls and I haven't made a point to do that since school let out in May. Bye bye sleeping in. You'll always be my very favorite thing. Except dates with Jason. That's my very, VERY favorite thing.

But I will get up early and be just as excited as they are and will make them chocolate chip pancakes per tradition because what's better than adding a little sugar high to the already crazy first day excitement? At least I also throw some chia and flax seeds in the batter. Maybe that will balance out the sugar. (wishful thinking)

I'm looking forward to telling you all about how it went and posting first day photos and finally updating those widgets on the right side of the page of the girls making snow angels. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Girls Day Out

Jason travels a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. Not this trip, but the one before, the girls and I were feeling particularly blue about his absence and we decided to spend a day in Fort Smith with only one agenda- to have stress-free fun together. (Yes, there is such a thing as stressful fun when you are a parent.) We started with lunch at our favorite restaurant, Panera Bread. The girls love to sit outside and we just happened to have very nice weather that day. 


It took a little work on my part to get everyone in a happy mood but I finally succeeded and our day really started to have a care-free feel to it. 


We spent time in the mall just walking around and looking at rings and clothes and toys. 
And then we made a quick stop at the nail salon for a little polish on our toes.


We ended the evening with dinner and a movie. Nora fell asleep on the way home so I put her straight to bed once we arrived and the other three went to sleep quickly and quietly. 


It really was a nice, fun day together and we made it even better by calling Jason periodically and letting him share in our fun as much as possible. It was a nice glimpse into how it will be hanging out with the girls when they are all a little bit older and able to better handle a whole day out and about. 

Friday, August 08, 2014

A Makeover is Happening

This picture was taken almost a year ago. It was before we moved into our house, and there was a lot of renovation work going on.

When we first moved in, I made this room the schoolroom and since I was burned out from painting, and our very large bookshelf was taking up most of the wall space, I didn't bother painting the paneling. 
Then we pulled the ol' switch-a-roo and Jason and I found ourselves in a very brown bedroom. Brown is okay, but it's never inspired me in a decorative sense. 
And paneling for sure hasn't.

look. i didn't even bother removing the white board. i was in decorating denial.

I really, really wanted to paint the walls, but I didn't want to do it alone because painting paneling is such time consuming and very tedious work. I kept putting it off and putting it off until I JUST COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.

So yesterday, I rounded up my paint and supplies and decided that since it always takes me one full day to completely paint a room, I should just suck it up and get it over with.  By this time the next night I would be sleeping peacefully in a "brand-new" room.


I worked from nine last night until one-thirty this morning and almost finished one wall. 
One. Wall.
 I have now changed my goal of completing this project from one day to one weekend. I am determined to get the task finished by tomorrow evening. This paneling just soaks in the paint and the edging takes FOREVER. I have to give the walls three coats and even edge the sides three times. I worked all day today and and I am just now half-way through the job.

Also, I decided that if I was going to do this, then I was really going to do this and I'm making myself paint all the furniture that needs repainting and I'm finally painting the girls' rocking horses. 

With my cousin's help, I was able to get the shelves and brackets above my desk put up and then I just threw some random decorations on them. I still have to paint that desk black and then organize and truly decorate the shelves, but it's nice to see a small part of the room finally looking like it's coming together. 

I have had a suggestion to paint the desk a yellow similar to the one below. I'm not totally sold on the idea, although I think the dresser in the photo is adorable. 

I'm just afraid it will take away from the picture I have in my head. There will be a black shelf above our bed that will be across the wall from the desk. Also, we have one black dresser. The nightstands and the other dresser are the gray color that you can see in the photos at the top of the post. 
What do you think? I would really like to hear your opinions.  

Thursday, August 07, 2014

By the time you're 30

One of my sisters and I were talking yesterday about how there are certain things a woman should have by the time she is thirty. I continued thinking about it after our conversation had ended and came up with a few more things. Of course,this list is a bit silly and not at all meant to make anyone over 30 who hasn't achieved these things feel bad. It's just a few fun thoughts.

- A signature scent. I actually have two, and one of them I just discovered within the past two weeks so really it's a soon-to-be signature scent. For normal "I'm headed to Target" type days, I like to wear Eau So Sexy from Victoria's Secret. 

It is the perfect blend of sweet and musky and has a very light and fresh feeling. 

For more special occasions like a wedding or date night, I like to wear Very Sexy for Her by Victoria's Secret. I know, I know, there is a definite trend in the names and I promise- it has no bearing on my original decision to try out the scent. :)
This smell is a bit more spicy and bold. It's not one that you want to spray more than once since a little goes a long way. But I've gotten compliments on it many times and it makes me feel like I'm headed out the door for something really special. 

- A set style for her home
Now, I'm not saying that your home should actually resemble this style, but in your head, you should know what you like. My home is far, far from what I want, but I'm to the point that I like waiting to get what I really want instead of getting some filler item that will just end up being replaced. 
To find your style, I recommend starting a Pinterest board and for about two months, pin everything you like. 

Then, after you have a pretty good collection of pictures pinned, go back and edit your board. Delete what doesn't resound with you the second time around. Then repeat the process all over again. As you are deleting the second or third time, you should start to notice a similarity between what pictures you have kept. The pictures that make the cut two or three times should really tell you what look you are drawn towards. I had always thought I was a color-on-the-walls type of girl. I had painted our homes very bold colors time and time again. But guess what? Almost every pin I deleted was of colored walls and almost every pin I kept was of clean, white walls. In our current home, I am/have painted almost all of the walls white and I have never been happier with the outcome. I realize that trends come and go, but I really think by the age of thirty, a woman should know her base design for her home, and work the trends in (and then out) as they happen. 

- Knowing Her Flaws
So this one -for me- is easier said than done, but I have picked up on some ways and habits that I need to kick to the curb. 
I need to be better about waking up before the girls. I like my sleep, people. I also need to be better about letting the girls make messes. My girls know how to clean and they do it well, so there ought to be times that I just let them play and don't panic about the amount of work that will follow. I won't be cleaning it alone- or as is often the case, at all. 
I have more but I don't want to air them here. 

- Being able to hold her tongue
Look, you are a grownup now. Start acting like one. Back when I worked in a business, I was constantly amazed and appalled by how childish and petty some of the other woman in the office would act. It was really disturbing at times. 

So, that's what I've thought of so far. I'm sure there are a lot more. Tell me readers, do you agree with what I wrote? What achievements can you think of, silly or serious? Any tips on reaching those accomplishments? 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Run, Run, pant, pant, Run Some More

We are now home "for good." Whatever that means. The bulk of out traveling has been completed (excluding Jason) and now we will be trying to establish a summer routine. Kind of late, I know, but you just work with what the situation is, you know? Let me catch you up a little bit since my last post.  
We were home for a day and a half before we got the call that Jason's grandfather had passed away. We waited until the next morning before leaving to go back to Tennessee and made the trip in a quick 10 hours or so. We got there late Sunday night and spent the next few days visiting with the family and attending the visitation and the funeral. 
We returned home (extremely spent and exhausted) on Thursday afternoon. Jason dropped us off at the house and I quickly unpacked and then repacked the girls. I ran Elaina and Eily to the doctor; Eily for an infected toe that was causing red streaks up her foot and Elaina for swimmer's ear. (Or in her case, bathtub ear.) Then I dropped the girls off at Mom's house and Jason and I headed for Farmington. We stayed that night with my sister and then woke up bright and early and went to the hospital in Bentonville so that Jason could get permanent tubes put in his ears. 
Then we skedaddled home so that Jason could get some rest and I could get busy cleaning the house because we had company coming in late that night and I hadn't really been home to clean in over a month. I was very doubtful that I could pull off a hefty grocery trip, deep house cleaning, and catching up the laundry- but I did it before any of the company showed up at the house. It helped that it was pretty late by the time anyone arrived.  

The next morning, friends and relatives from my dad's side of the family came together and celebrated my grandfather's 90th birthday. I didn't think to take many photos but I did catch this sweet moment between Elaina and Grandpa. She had just come over to give him a hug and a kiss and wish him a happy birthday. 

Sunday was very low-key, in such a wonderful way, and we rested up and recuperated from all the business. 

This week has been mainly spent at the city pool and the Geek Squad desk at Best Buy. The girls have started swimming lessons and Nora comes home every day a little upset that they won't just let her swim alone because, "Look how big I am now! I'm grown all up!" I keep assuring her that when the time comes, the teacher will let her know and until then she needs to just keep practicing her arm movements and kicks. 

If you have noticed that Claire hasn't been in any of the photos so far, that's because she stayed in Tennessee and then went home to Mississippi with her cousin, Lily. Aunt Abby has been texting me photos all week of all the fun things they have been doing. Lily has a cousin, Charlie, on her mama's side of the family that is Claire's good friend and I know they've been able to play together quite a bit, too.

Claire and Lily making a craft at the Farmer's Market

Claire- sporting her new haircut and enjoying a smore's at Uncle Tommy and Aunt Kara's house

Lily, Claire, Nora Strevel, Charlie Strevel
I love this photo so much

More splash pad fun in Mississippi

This last photo was taken in Tennessee. Abby, Kara, and I brought the kids home early from the visitation. We were going to take them to the backyard and let them burn off some energy but it was raining, so...
Nadia, Elaina, Nora, David, Claire, Eily, Lily