Hello there! I’m back!

After nearly three months of being absent from my blog, I had to check in and share a new, FREE product I just added to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. My son, Luke, starts kindergarten in 10 days and he has asked 1.3 million times when he gets to go. I love that he is SO excited and wanted him to have the excitement of a countdown. So, I created this free, cute paper chain countdown for the back to school season. It starts at “10 days until school”, but you can obviously only use 5 days (or 3 or 8) if you start school sooner than that.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.22.14 PMClick here to download it for FREE!

I whipped this up today, so we had to put it together and immediately take off one chain. Hah!

IMG_5535Can you tell that it was a “you can choose what you wear day”? Hah! Still cannot believe I let him get that shirt. It has not and hopefully will never be worn in public.

IMG_5537Only 9 more days until my baby starts kindergarten. Bring on the tissues!

I have LOTS of new ideas for Teachers Pay Teachers products and my hope is that once we get in a school/football routine I will have more time to work on them. And in case you are wondering why I haven’t blogged this summer, well let’s just say we’ve been crazy busy! If you follow me on instagram you are in the know, but in the past two months, we’ve: spent a week at the beach, visited three foreign countries, flew to LA and back in 22 hours (pure madness, but FUN!), finished our forever house, sold our current house, taught VBS, hosted our annual charity golf tournament, moved to our forever house and two days later moved back to Atlanta. Shoo! Oh, and now it’s training camp time, which honestly feels like a break compared to our summer schedule.

Hope y’all have had a great summer! It’s good to be back on the blog train! I’ll leave you with one of my favorite photos of our summer:

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Sunday Scriptures + T-ball Finale

ABC Scriptures - V

John 6:47

This picture was taken at the University Club of Kentucky after the big storm blew through the Swings for Soldiers Classic. I love this verse because of the promise Jesus gives us. Luke learned a different verse this week at Vacation Bible School. This was his first year to attend and he had so much fun learning about Jesus. Their verse was Isaiah 30:21 that corresponded with LifeWay’s Journey Off the Map. Jacob and I loved hearing Luke talk about what he had learned throughout the week.

Luke also wrapped up his first sports season this week with his last t-ball game. I can not tell you how proud I am of this kid. After the first week of t-ball, Jacob and I sat down and had a serious talk about if he should even play… we might have even used that dirty word “quit” in our conversation. You see, Luke cried at the first practice and game. I’m not talking about a few tears. It was all out, scared to death crying. He was pitiful. We finally got him to sit in the dugout and I stood on the other side of the fence and held his hand throughout the game. Yes, I was that mom. I didn’t want to completely baby him, but I wanted him to feel safe and ease into this thing called organized sports. By the next game he was willingly sitting in the dugout after a little prodding and by the third game he was batting and playing in the outfield! I’m not going to lie Jacob and I both shed a few tears over him overcoming his fears.

By the end of the season, Luke was asking when his next t-ball game was and was running into the dugout to be with his teammates. My momma heart was so proud of my little guy! Now, bear with me, here comes the Luke picture overload:

IMG_0076Is there anything sweeter than cousins dressed in t-ball uniforms? These two are 17 months apart and are best friends.

IMG_0153Both of my children smiling and looking at the camera at the same time? It’s a miracle and had to be documented!

IMG_9977Luke got the game ball after his game on July 7th! He was so proud!

IMG_0167The head coach had to miss the last game, so Jacob got to fill in as the first base coach. Luke loved having his Daddy on the field and Jacob loved getting to coach. I’m not sure who had more fun!

IMG_0258The pitcher gets a LOT of action in t-ball and Luke finally got to play the position in his last game. Can you tell he took it seriously? When they said, “get your glove on the ground” he took it literally. Hah! He had his game face on the whole time!

IMG_1287_2Sweet, sweet t-ball babies! Go Reds!

IMG_0810And, in case you were wondering whose kid this was… check this out! Jacob on the left and Luke on the right at age 4. I promise I had something to do with this kid, but you sure can’t tell!

42 Easy Steps to Take your Children to the Pool

This Is How We Do It: Pool Days

Pool babies

These two were the inspiration behind the 42 Easy Steps to Take Your Children to the Pool

By now, pools across the country have opened and the summer swim season is in full swing. This is my first summer with two kiddos and I have taken them to the pool (and the beach) by myself a handful of times this month. Let me tell you, there is a BIG difference between taking one child to the pool and two children. And as for you mothers of 3+ children… HOW DO YOU SURVIVE?!?!

Just in case you need a a few tips on taking your children to the pool, I’ve devised an easy to follow how-to:

42 Easy Steps to Take your Children to the Pool

1. Decide to go to the pool.
2. Dress preschooler in swim trunks. Then undress and redress him because they “feel funny.”
3. Help preschooler put on sandals. Of note: Allow at least 25 minutes for step 3.
4. Dress baby girl in swimsuit with regular diaper, keeping in mind you will need to change her to a swim
diaper upon arrival at the pool.
5. Find baby girl’s matching bow, sandals, and cover-up and wiggle her into all three items.
6. Pack the pool bag with towels, swim diapers, sunscreen, and toys.
7. Prepare snacks for the kids: sliced apples and strawberries, dry cheerios and bottled water.
8. Throw cookies in to a baggie as a replacement snack at the whiny request of the preschooler.
9. Change into your swimsuit while holding baby girl because she will cry if she is placed on the floor for more
than 7 seconds.
10. Locate preschooler in the playroom and notice he is naked because his swim trunks “feel funny”.
11. Repeat steps 2 and 3 while holding baby girl.
12. Load children, pool bag, floatation devices and purse in to the car.
13. Realize you forgot the baby’s sunhat.
14. Race upstairs to get sunhat while hoping your preschooler doesn’t learn how to unbuckle his carseat and
start the car in the 30 seconds you leave them unsupervised in the car.
15. Drive to the pool while mentally reviewing if you packed everything you will need for the pool.
16. Park your car and unload purse, flotation devices, pool bag and children.
17. Enter pool area while carrying your baby, pool bag, floatation devices and purse while attempting to
wrangle your preschooler from the pool’s edge, while repeating, “Please stay next to Mommy!” at
increasing decibels.
18. Find a lounge chair that is in the shade so that the children won’t get too much sun.
19. Unload bags and take off baby’s cover up, sandals, matching bow and diaper.
20. Change baby into swim diaper while repeatedly saying to preschooler “Please stay away from the pool!” at
increasing decibels.
21. Redress baby in swimsuit, matching bow and sandals.
22. Ask yourself why you didn’t just bring a naked baby to the pool.
23. Slather sunscreen on both children while they act like you are covering them with screaming hot acid.
24. Secure children in floatation devices and enter the shallow end of the pool.
25. Frolic in the frigid water for approximately 6 minutes.
26. Preschooler declares to everyone in attendance at the pool that he needs to “pee right now”.
27. Drag children out of the pool and run like crazy while carrying your baby girl in her floatation device to
the bathroom.
28. Realize that you are entering a public restroom without shoes on and pray you don’t contract some nasty
foot fungus.
29. Peel wet swim trunks off preschooler just in time for preschooler to “pee right now”.
30. Repeat steps 2 and 3.
31. Leave restroom and decide the kids should eat their snacks now while you are already out of the pool.
32. Lay beach towel out for baby girl to sit on and eat cheerios and lay towel on beach chair for preschooler to eat his apple slices cookies on.
33. Glance up at the clock and realize that it is almost nap time.
34. Decide that time is of the essence and in order to avoid “melt down city” you must leave the pool NOW.
35. Walk around the pool deck gathering up all of the pool toys while holding your baby girl and instructing
your preschooler to “Please stay away from the pool!” at increasing decibels.
36. Pack up the pool bag, floatation devices and purse and carry them out while holding your baby girl and
wrangling your preschooler towards the parking while he screams, “I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to
take a nap. I’m not tired.”
37. Put the pool bag, floatation devices and purse in the car and secure children in their car seats.
38. Begin the drive home.
39. Children fall asleep in the carseats before you pull out of the parking lot.
40. Arrive home. Park in the garage, roll the windows down and turn off car. Leave the door to the house
cracked so you can hear them if they wake up.
41. Turn on Keurig and brew a cup of coffee because you know that when they wake up they will ask to go
back to the pool.
42. Enjoy your 15 minutes of peace and quiet while drinking coffee. You’re going to need to save up your
energy to repeat steps 1-40 tomorrow.

Luke at neighborhood pool

Luke is finally gaining confidence and independence in the pool! He picked out this Tadpool brand float and it’s been a game changer!

As I mentioned, last week I traveled to Watercolor, Florida with both kiddos by myself for Lyla to do a photo shoot. What was I thinking?!? It actually wasn’t too bad, except for the drive home where it was pouring rain, Lyla was screaming and Luke was screaming at her to stop screaming! Shoo, that’s a six hour period of my life that I don’t ever wish to repeat.

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Lyla Rae playing in (and eating large amounts of) sand!

 

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The water was chilly, but it didn’t stop Luke from jumping the waves!

I would love to hear your tips for taking your children to the pool! What works best for you and what items are must-haves for pool days?

Summer Bucket List

While it’s not “officially” Summer until Memorial Day, (Well, actually it’s not official until June 21st, but seriously, no one really starts Summer then!) we are having the unofficial start today because the pool opens! I was a life guard at a community pool for six summers and the pool always opened on Memorial Day weekend. However, in Georgia pools open earlier and we are excited to get a jump on our pool time!

Like most of us, I’m a creature of habit. I usually find us spending our days playing legos, reading books, baking and running errands with a weekly trip to the library. However, I want Summer to be fun! I want it to be different. When I was growing up, my mom was a teacher and had Summers off. She always had fun things for us to do and it was magical! I want to share that same fun, Summer spirit with Luke and have it be different than the rest of the year.

To make sure we don’t fall in to our normal routine, I made a Summer Bucket List for our family. Of course I made a list; I’m the list queen! Jacob may or may not have rolled his eyes when I asked him to contribute to said list. He’s more of a “fly by the seat of his pants” kind of guy which compliments my love of list making quite well. So, Luke and I had a little brainstorm session and came up with 19 activities we want to do this summer. I’m not going to stress out about getting these items marked off, although I do love to cross things off a list! I just want to have a list of fun things to do when we start getting stuck in a routine this Summer.Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 7.59.46 AM

You can definitely tell which items I added: learn Mommy’s phone number and Summer reading program, and which items Luke added: bake cookies, have a sleepover with cousins and go fishing. What’s on your Summer Bucket List?