Monday, August 28, 2017

Five Things on a Monday

 1. Everyone was healthy enough to go to school today! Yay!!

2. My brother, Clay, was talking to me about some of his favorite art projects from college and said he always loved drawing on toned paper and using black and white charcoal to pull out the lights and darks but then letting the paper be all the midtones. It's been a long time since I've played with that, and I do love charcoal oh so much, so today I made some drawings on toned paper during my art time. They were so fun! This definitely won't be my last time doing these. 

It's a constant game to figure out when I'm going to get my art hours in. If I say I'll just paint whenever I can get to it, it never happens. But if I'm really rigid about which hours of the day I work, it's sometimes hard to juggle motherhood needs or life needs (one of the things I love about working from home and being my own boss is the flexibility). So the best I can come up with is setting a schedule every day and planning to be in my studio at certain hours. But if something comes up, I have a priority that I'll still try to get my hours in that day even if it's not ideal. And I try not to let more than one thing come up a week. So, more often than not, I'm in my studio from 9-noon every morning working and so far (if we're not all home sick) it's working out. I ignore everything in my house that needs to be done (dishes, laundry, etc) and try to put off other art-related business (answering emails, updating website, shipping orders, etc) for later in the afternoon. I still have Dallin around in the morning, but he likes to play in the playroom next door or sometimes I'll let him watch a show while I work. It's the best I can come up with right now and having Owen in Kindergarten every morning is so nice! 

3. I love being a mom. I love being home with my kids. They crack me up and make my days so interesting and funny. I noticed when I get my art hours in in the morning, I'm so much happier the rest of the day. I snap less at my family and have much more patience to help all of them with homework and the things they need from me, because my needs have already been met. I didn't anticipate how much art would help me as a person and a mother so that I could be happier all the rest of the time. 

Hmmm, where did Owen go??

 4. And speaking of those sweet kids... I told them if I was ever on the phone and they needed me, to grab a piece of paper and write down what they want to tell me. Usually it's something like, "Can I have a snack?" and I can just give them a thumbs up. Today when I was on the phone, Jenna passed me this urgent note: 

"I'm annoyed because you're on the phone. And I really need to have a conversation with you." Ha ha. Oh, Jenna. She's always mad at me about something... 

5. Sometimes, when everyone's in bed and the house is all quiet and I'm supposed to fold the four baskets of clothes for the family (monday laundry day), I just play colorku instead and then take pictures of all the pretty board in bad lighting cause if you're not feeding your soul, what is left??  

See ya Tuesday, laundry. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

One by one

I love watching these three walk to school together. I love that Owen has them and doesn't have to walk alone. I love that they take such good care of him and get him right to his line and make sure he's okay. I think he's so thrilled to be included and not left behind. 

We started off the school year so strong, but by day two a couple of us got sick... 

And by day three, all four kids were home from school and missed the rest of their first week. 

(I love Dallin's posse of friends that go with him wherever he goes)

Being sick sucks. I got it too, which meant Adam was the only man standing and carried the whole family on his shoulders all week. We watched a lot of movies. And laid around and rested a lot. 

We played one of my new favorite games I got for my birthday, Colorku (sudoku but with colors) and it kept us all pretty entertained. 

By Saturday, people were well enough to go to their soccer games. But they all lacked energy and didn't last long in their games. 

 (Dallin, sitting on the ground instead of playing)

 Jenna would run and then just stop, like it was too much work to move her body. 

 Lucy was home sick, but at the last minute decided she wanted to play. She made it for the last five minutes of her game and said, "Whew, good thing that was short cause I am so exhausted."

Owen played his game, but since he's on a different location at the same time I didn't get any photos of him. But Dallin passed out on the grass at the girls' game and slept right through it. 

Ha ha, oh man. Life right? It was a rough first week of the school year. Hopefully next week goes better!

Monday, August 21, 2017

First Day of School 2017

And they're back in school! We feel like we blinked and summer is over, but we sure had a ton of fun. Everyone is so excited to be with friends and start new classes. And I'm excited to have ALL FOUR in school this year!! What am I even going to do with my four hours and thirty minutes every week all to myself?! #everything #butnotenoughtimeforanythingreally 

I've started taking the back to school pictures the night before school starts (golden light, less stress, more time) and it's worked out so well. Plus then I make sure I cut all the tags off the clothes and we can gather outfits and backpacks and all of that before it's crunch time. Life hacks, right? I also stopped stressing about "back to school shopping" and trying to outfit my kids' shoes and clothing for the whole year. Now I buy them one new outfit each to wear on the first day and we let the rest come as they need it. If their feet need new tennis shoes in November, that's when they get them. If they're short on long-sleeved clothing in February, that's when we shop. It's saved me buying sizes too big and hoping they grow into them or don't outgrow them too quickly... way too much stress. 

Also, please appreciate the difference between when I try to have the kids smile all by myself:

And when Adam's behind me:

Lucy Jane, 2nd grade: 

Jenna Paige, 2nd grade: 

Owen Adam, Kindergarten:

 Dallin Price, First year of Preschool:

And while we're on it, can we laugh at the many faces of this youngest clown of mine?

One of the things I love about starting school again, is the return of a routine. My kids are so much more motivated to do their chores and get things done. Sure enough, beds were made for the first time in weeks, and they were ready so early that they were practicing piano and finishing other jobs before school so they could have more play time after. Hooray!

It always tugs at my heart a little to watch them walk away from me to school. I'm so happy to see them grow and be independant and keep learning, but every year my babies are that much taller and bigger and it makes me ache. Especially sending THREE to the elementary this year. Owen was SO excited to be included with the big kids. 

We got there early, found their lines and were standing around talking when one of the kids looked into the field and noticed, "Hey! Dad came back from work!!" And since my camera was already in my hand, I got to capture this perfect moment that burst my heart. 

Oh, how I love this family of mine! And I love that husband of mine who tries so hard to be a good dad and works his life however he can to make sure he's there for his kids in their important moments. It meant the world to them. 

We let the grown up 2nd graders find their own way and stuck with our Kindergartner who was smiling so big I thought his cheeks would fall off. 

Owen got to sit at the same table as one of his favorite friends, Braxton, so life was good from the start. I'm going to miss my buddy every morning, but he is so hungry to learn and be engaged and push his brain and for all those reasons, I'm so glad he gets to go to school everyday. It is so, so good for him (and let's be honest, nice for me to let someone else entertain/educate him while I get other things done;). 

Adam went back to work, and Dallin and I headed down the hall and took sneaky pictures in Lucy and Jenna's classrooms as we passed (different classes, different teachers). Lucy happened to see us. Jenna, not so much. But they both looked happy and I'm so excited for them too. They missed their friends this summer and also get so excited to learn and keep growing. I love our school and the good people who teach my children. 

 There was a "Boo-Hoo Breakfast" for all the Kindergarten parents, and Dallin sure got the boo-hoo spirit down. He was so sad and grumpy and kept bonking his head into me, like a cat who wants attention. Oh, Dally boy. It's going to be a long year, isn't it? He starts preschool in a couple weeks, but only for two mornings of the week and I have a feeling he's going to have a tough time without his posse of siblings. 

We walked in to our quiet house and Dallin grabbed his summer workbook, pulled it right out and started working. Do you think someone wants to be included with the school kids? 

Lucky for Dal, we weren't home for long. The first day of school also happened to be the Solar Eclipse. Which meant on top of all the back to school stress, I had solar stress too. I didn't really care about the eclipse until it was too late to find any glasses, so I spent the 24 hours before it happened trying to track down a pair. The school bought pairs for all the kids, but a last minute recall meant there weren't any for the kindergartners. So they were letting the kindergartners out early, but inviting us to the field to watch with all of our other children, and there was all the concern that anyone outside would go blind by looking at the sun the wrong way... ayyy, ay, ay. I hunted down the principal to see if there were any extra glasses at the school and luckily he got me a pair and a nice lady gave me her extra. So, between the girls' glasses from their teachers and the two extra, we had four to share. Whew!

Dallin was thrilled about watching the whole thing, but kept holding his glasses slightly askew which made me all panicked that the sun was burning his eyes that weren't covered (solar stress!). Lucy and Jenna were interested but also confused, so we spent a lot of time role playing trying to help them understand (Lucy if you're the earth and Jenna's the moon and I'm the sun then look what happens when I go behind Jenna! See! Mostly gone, but you can still see some of me!). Owen wanted nothing to do with the glasses and definitely did NOT want to look up at the sky. So he spent the whole Solar Eclipse looking at the grass, ha ha. Oh boy. 

There was so much else to think about that I never even got around to thinking about taking pictures with my nice camera of the solar eclipse. I didn't even know if I'd get glasses! So I took faith that plenty of other great photographers out there would be on this for me and get the good pictures. And I could just enjoy them on the internet later. Sure enough...

My sister, Nat, took this cool photo!

And a friend of mine that was up in the path of totality took this one!

Thank you, and bravo on great photos! 

It was awesome to watch the eclipse. I was so concerned about my kids that I don't feel like I sat and watched and enjoyed it as much as I should've. But it was still so cool. We weren't in totality, but the light got really gray and weird. It felt like something from the Twilight Zone or something where everything just looked wrong. I actually got a headache from staring at the sun so much and the light being so strange. It made me dizzy and a little nauseated. Owen kept begging to just go home, so finally when we had seen most of it, the boys and I walked back while the girls went inside with their classes. 

I got home and went to check the mail and the mailman was walking up. I offered him my glasses if he wanted to look, but he'd seen it, and then told me to look at the shadows. The shadows! That's right! I'd heard people mention they'd be cool. I looked down at ours and they were funky, but I think I missed the height of them. 

We ate lunch and once my head felt better, we got on with our day. Which meant making first day of school cookies. The boys were anxious to help. Years ago I sewed kid aprons for my girls and it was fun to see my boys wear them today. Didn't I just blink and my girls were this small? How does time fly so fast?

At 3:10, we walked back over and picked up two very excited girls. 

All three school kids sat with cookies and milk and gushed about every detail of their day. I loved hearing every word. Adam walked in from his first day of (teaching) school and I loved hearing everything about that. For better or worse, our whole family is tied to school schedules and that is the world we live in. Students and bells and work and tardies and assembly schedules and get-to-know you games on the first day. This is our life. 

And because we love school so much, Adam is going back to school himself and started a night class up at the U today as well. He loves academia so much and I'm happy he gets to keep pursuing it. The kids and I had a quick dinner and then headed to the park for Dallin's soccer practice. I threw bikes in the back for the older three and worked on helping Owen master his new two-wheeler. He did so great!

I worked with him for a bit and then got tired and rested. Dallin's practice ended and I was about to round up the kids and head home, when Lucy parked her bike and said, "I'm going to work with Owen and be his bike instructor." How can you take kids home when they're being the sweetest siblings and helping each other? We had a FHE lesson in the car on the way over about all for one and one for all and what it means to help each other and be a team. And here was Lucy putting that right into action, making Owen's problems her problems. I watched in awe as she patiently taught him and helped him get started and then jogged alongside him while he rode. 

She did it over and over and over and when she finally got tired, Jenna parked her bike and volunteered to help him. 

They'd tag out as they needed and sister after sister was right at his side running or riding, helping him get better. We stayed another hour because I couldn't bear breaking this beautiful moment up. 

We've never really done any of the back to school feasts that have become so popular lately, but I like the idea of family themes and goals for the year. This one unfolded on its own today, but I sat there in the golden light and watched my children demonstrate what I want us as a family to do all the time, All for One and One for All. When Dad's at class and that means Mom has to do more at home and the kids miss him more, that's okay because we're All for One. When Owen needs to learn how to ride a bike, we each take turns helping him because we're All for One. When toys are out all over the floor and they may not be your mess, we clean them up because we're One for All and having a clean home helps all of us. When Dallin has a soccer practice and we only have one parent available, we all go and support him because we're All for One. 

Every school year and every season I feel like we have to reinvent our rhythms and find our new normals. They often stretch us more than the last season did and the same solution isn't guaranteed to work. But if our whole year can go as well as this first day, this all working together as a team day, then I think this will be our best year yet.