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We know this. It’s not a secret. One day you’re anxiously awaiting their arrival from the womb and then you blink and then they’re adults – or almost. Almost. How is it that just yesterday I was sending my first-born off to kindergarten, with her brand new glasses and her bangs pulled back off her chubby little face, a backpack as big as she was strung across her back, and a smile that went on for days? There was no fear, no tears. Just a lot of excitement. Last week, I sent that baby of mine off to her senior year of high school, glasses replaced with contacts, bangs dangling and covering her eyes which light up her much more matured face, a messenger bag over her shoulder, and a smile that went on for days. Ok, so some things don’t change that much, they just get bigger. But how can it be that she’s just 2.5 short months from being 18? An adult. *gasp* I always seem to think that I have this under control, I am always internally emotional but can sometimes hold the external together. I take each day in stride. I’m always so proud of my babies and welcome their wing spreading with open arms. But suddenly, almost instantaneously, it hits like a ton of bricks. My baby is almost an adult. Fortunately, I have 4 more babies to raise to adult so I’m still a bit of a ways away from having a full-out heart attack over here. The palpitations are building though.

I’ve now been typing this post for 5 days – seriously. I get THAT distracted by babies and things and OMG the internets. Let me try again while Lucas is distracted by Mickey Mouse and Levi naps, knock on all things that are wood, while I have 2 free hands to type effectively.

My big boys, they have grown like weeds in the past year. I cannot tell you how many pairs of jeans we have gone through and shoes. Shoes now get stinky before they get worn out. yikes! And this summer, the grocery bill, it seriously doubled. And they aren’t even to the stomach-is-a-bottomless-pit stage yet. It’s a good thing there is an 8 year gap between Dillan and Lucas, so we can rebuild the teenager grocery fund again! The physical things are easy to see, but through the summer, I saw a lot of growth in my boys as brothers and friends. They were given some more freedom, allowed to go to the park with friends without mom. It’s only 2 blocks away, but as a trying not to be a helicopter mom, this was a big deal. I send an extra cell phone with them, yep, they also have to be responsible, and they keep me posted about what they’re doing and who they’re with. They were allowed to bike to friends’ houses, too. And while this was hard on mama, it was so good. They argued and fought less, they played together and as a group of friends much more. And by summer’s end, when the soccer teams came out and a mistake was made and they had both been put on the same time, they BOTH asked to be kept on the same team. Yes, my jaw had to be scooped from the floor! This is big. A very BIG step in their brotherly development. The past couple of years surely have had some rough patches. To say that I’m a pleased mama is so underwhelming. I’m elated! But, they should not grow so much. So fast.

7 days – seriously, this blog post is taking far too long to complete. Despite the amount of time I can sit in the computer chair in a day, the typing just doesn’t get done. I need to be more skilled at one handed typing and allowing thoughts to flow while doing a multitude of other things – like nursing a baby, bouncing a baby, cleaning up baby urp from down my back and in my lap, while fetching a toddler off a desk or rescuing him from an annoyed cat or four, and trying to keep enough food and water in myself to sustain me for at least one more day. I will finish this now.

Only after I post some pictures. Because, as per my usual, I paraded them outside to the deck stairs, just like I do every first day of school, so I could take their pictures and “awwwww” and swoon over my precious, once were very tiny, babies. I don’t get teary, not on the outside anyway. I love that they can get out into the big world and spread their wings and discover more about themselves every day. I love that I can get a bit of a mom breather and enjoy a little bit of time each day to be just me, not me the mom, though those days are still so numbered with two little pipsqueeks still at home. I love my babies. So much. My heart is full.

And now, my kids have been back to school for 14 days and I have been trying to write this for 10 days! (enter failing blogger grumbles here). Life is busy, it’s crazy, sometimes overwhelming and frustrating but hey, I love it!)

So, here are the pictures of my kiddos on the first day of school – I adore them all so much!

Hannah – 12th, Connor – 5th, Dillan – 4th.

senior t-shirts are cool

Instagram is serious awesome. Here are a few more of those from the past week.
All my boys before school.

It’s Homecoming Week. Two days ago was “Neon Day” where she wore neon so much cuter than we ever did in the 80’s! Yesterday was “Character Day.” Hannah couldn’t be anything other than adorable Pikachu! Today is “School Spirit Day” and they aren’t allowed to wear their cheer uniforms to school (I know, right?! ridiculousness) so she rocked the tutu again with her cheer jersey. (I’m not too sure about those tights or boots though.)

Have a wonderful year my little, precious, tiny, babies-will-always-be-to-me, children! I love you more than words and pictures can ever express. You all are by far the best things I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t be more proud to be your mama! Now, do your homework without me having to ask eleventytwenty times. 🙂

And for mama, let this be a lesson that blog posts should not take 10 days, with or without pictures.

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This is one of those days that I look forward to all year long! I love that my kids enjoy school, and they thrive and they learn, and they have great fun with good friends. But I don’t love schedules and homework and papers and folders and planners and, and, and. The last day of school ends all of that! We can stay up later, sleep in longer (well, the kids can, I seem to wake up early no matter what), have big breakfasts, lounge in jammies all day, get out and enjoy SUMMER, enjoy the chaos that is neighborhood kids ringing the doorbell and jumping on the trampoline and water balloons and skate park and fun! Mostly, it’s time that I REALLY get to spend with my big kids. So much of my day/week/month is consumed by the littlest people in our family because everyone else just isn’t here. I love when we can really settle in and be a family without being pulled 50 different directions. I enjoy (in a weird and crazy kind of way) dirty, smelly kids – they’ve been playing and having fun! When the boys can manage to get along for long periods of time, there is laughter and creativity and imagination. There is a brotherhood – lately it is hard to find – but it is there. I can’t wait to see it more!

But first, they have to get through today – the day where teacher enlist the class to clean and tidy the room so it’s fresh and ready for next year, to have sack lunches, to clean out lockers, to say goodbye to friends for the summer. Hannah finds this harder every year. She watches the seniors graduate and go off to college. She’s always been sensitive about missing teachers and friends, but since starting high school, it’s different. She’s such a sweet and sensitive girl. Connor and Dillan just can’t wait. They’re excited to be done with school and in August, they won’t be excited to start again. We will absorb as much of this summer freedom as we can!

There are no big plans, no exciting vacations – not this year, we need to grow the babies some more – and no boundaries. Hannah will be quite adventurous and visit Spain in just a few weeks. We look forward to a visit from my dad next week. There is baseball every week. But all the other days will be full of play and play dates, local events, swim time, friends, picnics, playgrounds, biking, walking, the zoo, the library, sandboxes, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk. We’ll do it all! And I hope to photograph most of it!

Today, my 3rd grader becomes a 4th grader…

My 4th grader becomes a 5th grader – it will be his last year in elementary school. [please pass the Kleenex!!]…

And my first baby, my only daughter, she finishes her junior year. Next year she will be a senior, and then graduate, and then leave me forever and ever. [please pass the Kleenex factory!]

I love you so much my big kids, I’m so proud of you!

Before school this morning, I handed them each a sheet of paper. Yes, their last bit of WORK to do before summer. I was met with grumbles but I know that someday, they will like it. I only wished I had started it years ago. I gave them an “exit interview” to gather some information about their school year. Also, it samples their handwriting at the time. I can’t wait to see what changes over the years. None of their answers surprise me, I feel pretty connected with my kids. But it really tickles me that Connor’s response to “what you learned” was “too much.” Oh that kiddo! Hannah and Connor both listed art as their favorite subject and Dillan chose gym.  History, music, and math were the least favorites. And I love so much that they all chose to put their last name on their paper also. Like I wouldn’t know who they are!  Good times kiddos, thanks for the giggles!

At the end of the school year last year, on a whim [and some encouraging from a friend], Hannah decided to try out for cheerleading. I was surprised but quite excited for her. But being the clumsy girl that my lovely daughter is, I worried for her safety, for her fragile joints, for her ever injured shins and toes. After a couple hours of practicing and learning routines and a quick tryout, we waited 2 long days for the results and found out that she made varsity football and varsity girls basketball! She was so excited! I was too! I think she talked about cheer stuff most of the summer, doing routines through the house, nearly nonstop. I was glad she had something new to look forward to and that she pushed so hard for something she wanted and she really excelled. Heck, she was far more coordinated than I expected her to be! But this also meant the end to swimming, since they are in the same season. That is where my heart broke. I really had grown to love her swimming and all the swimmers and the parents too. It was a lot of fun. But this will be fun too!

Fast forward to last night, her first football game outside of the stands, in front of the fans, being ‘on stage’ in front of so many people – not something she’s typically comfortable with either. But she did amazing! It was so fun to watch! Her personality really shined through, she smiled so much, and cheered her heart out. She had a great time! We had a great time watching her! I was having many teary eyed, proud mama moments. My baby is all grown up!

The icing on the cake – it was a photo of HER that made the morning paper! HOORAY! But here are the ones that I took.

 

How did it get to be August already? So many holes in the blog – so many pictures and stories left unshown and untold. Maybe someday I will get back and fill in some of the gaps or maybe I’ll just keep chugging along.

We’re busy! I love my family, I love my kids, I love my life! I’m really tired some days and I get stuck in some ruts, but really – I wouldn’t trade it! This is the crazy “back to school” time so we’re rushing around with appointments and shopping and planning. Trying to get back into some sort of routine may be the death of me but with just 2 weeks to go – something has to start to fall into place. I’m really excited for school to start – I love all the extra time I get to spend with the kids but I like the routine, I love seeing what they learn, I love the lack of in and out, in and out, in and out that goes on here most days of the summer! But back to school brings cooler weather. We’re already dipping down quite a bit at night, it feels nice, but it’s that subtle reminder that summer is coming to an end and the dreaded winter will be here soon. I’ll soon be trading my sparkly magenta painted toe nails for warm socks. I’m just not ready. Though I never am.

Hannah spent 5 weeks with her dad this summer – she attended a cheer camp and teen retreat. She helped teach a kids art class and checked out a college. The day after getting home, she was back to cheer practice and that will continue until next spring! I admittedly am sad to not be a part of the swim team this year but I know she will love cheering just as much. We went to see the new high school already and it’s awesome and amazing. I’m so excited for her! Orientation is tomorrow, she’ll get her crazy schedule. Thank goodness she passed her driving test [the 2nd time] and can now drive herself as needed.

Connor has gotten out of skating mode this summer. He still likes to but he prefers biking right now. He’s been really helpful to me and we’ve had some good time together. He’s an excellent big brother to Lucas, he always wants to help and care for him.

Dillan is all about skating. He wants to drop out of school now and just have a skate shop! He and friends have been taking apart and putting back together skateboards all summer. He’s done really well with learning some new tricks and is gaining good skill. He spent a week of summer being sick, which stunk, but it was good for us to just hang out and be mellow together. As trying as he can be at times, he really is just awesome when we’re 1 on 1. I am still trying to figure out how to bring that out all the time.

Lucas is growing, growing, growing. He’s now 8 months old and crawling and cruising furniture – determined like crazy! I call him Scar Face this week since he’s pretty dinged up. He’s mad if I hold him back but not quite as sturdy as he wants to be when trying to do things on his own. He’s eating solids so well, figured out the sippy cup, can say ‘mama’ and a few other babbles [we’re waiting on dada]and is just as cute as can be! I can’t believe how fast these months have gone by and how fast he’s growing. I know James is so thankful he’s had a change in schedule and is able to be here a few days a week and stay caught up with him.

It’s taken me 3 days to make this update! I just have to laugh – I love this life!

It has been Hannah’s goal since starting swimming 4 years ago – she wanted to go to State. This is a big deal, she has to work hard, swim hard, improve every day and  cut seconds enough to compete with the fastest swimmers in the state. Cutting seconds in most things seems like no big deal at all. But when swim races come down to 100th’s of a second, it is a very big deal. She’s been close so many times and each year has ended in frustration and disappointment but still with determination to make it next year. This year is her year!

This was the last home meet of the season, he second to last chance to make it into the State qualifying group. The qualifying time this year for the 50m freestyle was 28:28 seconds. She’s been hovering in the 29’s for so long, having a heck of a time busting down that last second. Just one second. And at the last meet, she actually broke the 29 with a time of 28:82 – SO ClOSE!! She was so excited to break 29 but still frustrated to be so close and not yet make it there. Tonight was amazing though – she swam so hard, leading the pack in the beginning, keeping up with the fastest swimmers for most of the race, and then pulling out an awesome 28:25. [see, HUNDREDTH’S of a second!] I cried, she yelled out, her team mates and coaches hugging and high fiving and congratulating. It was awesome, and amazing, and I was such a super proud mama! I instantly texted a handful of people to share our joy!

The best part this year, prelims fall on her 16th birthday! What an awesome way to spend the day! I can’t wait to travel and enjoy the experience with her – it’s going to be amazing!

 

This is the start of a record breaking race for her!

 

 

She's actually ahead of the fastest swimmer in the race - that didn't last but it was awesome anyway!

 

breast stroke in a relay race.

 

 

more breast stroke

 

This has been an awesome swim season – lettering in 2 races and heading to state! I’m just so proud!

 

 

 

 

No matter how much we plan ahead, the first day of school always  sneaks up on us. We did plenty of last minute supply and clothes shopping, running around, planning, and getting everything in order. With plenty of shiny new items, backpacks, and clothes, I sent the kids off to the first day of a new beginning this morning.

Hannah left bright and early for her first day of 10th grade. How did my baby girl become a sophomore in high school? She was really excited to see friends she hadn’t seen all summer, to find out what her classes were like, and to wear her new clothes and show off her new dark hair and green eyes! It is about the fashion and friends, ya know. She has many long days ahead – a rigorous course schedule and demanding swim schedule. Many days she’s gone 12 hours or more. She’s more than capable and determined, I just hope she finds some time to sleep!

Connor was so excited for school that he was awake and dressed at 6am! He got his breakfast and brushed his teeth and got all of his things together and then had to wait so long before it was actually time to leave for school! 3rd grade – I really don’t know how these kids grow so fast. It seems like I was just taking him to kindergarten. He’s developed his own sense of style lately, bracelets and hats and all things ‘cool.’

Dillan is never excited for school – but this morning he was actually up very early on his own and got ready for school just fine. He was full of smiles and a little excited for the first day. I’m sure that will wear off by the end of the day but at least we had a positive start to the morning! He and Connor have similar styles, though Dillan is less concerned about matching than Connor is. He did a good job and my baby baby is off to 2nd grade!

My kids have become obsessed with skating – which has put us at the skate park many early mornings this summer. The mornings are cooler, there are far fewer people, and it’s just a fun way to start the day. It’s even more fun when friends are there to share the fun. I invited a bunch of the guy pals for the boys and they all had a great time. I took just a couple pictures but put the camera away before they all showed up and forgot to take it back out again. Bummer.

This was our last trip to the skate park for the summer – we still may go on a weekend but with school starting on Wednesday – this was our one last hurrah for the summer.

Fun times!

Connor plans to be in the X Games someday. He has some natural skills! [and he’s cute too]

Dillan had a little wipeout – but he was able to laugh about it!

Hannah has a skunk hat – must be cool skate wear!

Hannah designed her own Converse this summer – funky and totally her!

My baby girl is growing up way too fast. Today was 10th grade orientation at the high school. Looking at her class schedule – seeing classes like Biology, Western Civ, and Algebra 2 really smacks me in the face that this is a big deal. While she technically started high school last year, this is her first year in the high school building. There are so many new activities and clubs and opportunities to be a part of that she didn’t have last year. There are actually upperclassman too. She’s really excited, and I’m excited for her too! I’m so proud of her in so many ways and love the person she’s growing up to be – she has such a big heart and kind soul. I know she’s going to do so great this year – I look forward to watching all the changes that come from starting a new year with new people and new things to do. Swimming is currently at the forefront – it’s going to take up a lot of her time this fall. I look forward to swimming too – love it! And in just a few months, she’ll turn 16 years old.  That brings a tear to my eye actually.

Best of luck in 10th grade Hannah! Way to make your mama feel old!

This is the day that I dread all year-long. It comes once a year and really is one of the saddest days I have. It’s the day that Hannah leaves for her dad’s for the summer – a whole 6 weeks. It’s such a long time to not see her at all except on the crazy pictures she posts to Facebook. I miss our daily routines and silly senses of humor together. I get bored of watching soap operas by myself.

She left bright and early, it’s a long drive. I’ve had the day to myself with just The Zoo. The silence is kind of nice at first but it quickly turns to boredom. I am reminded of how little she used to be and all the fun things we used to do. Summer just isn’t as much fun as it used to be with my kids all going different directions and not being home how I want them to be. They boys would rather be at the lake, I can’t blame them there – so would I. James is working plenty and not home to keep me company either. I think he gets frustrated with my phone annoyances that come out of lonely and boredom. Hannah doesn’t get annoyed though, she plays along. I’m so thankful for her phone. We don’t have to sit and have conversations, I don’t feel like I’m interrupting her time with her family there, and we can just text chit chat off and on throughout the day. It’s not the same as her being here but it makes her that much closer to me anyway.

I count down the days until she’s home. I can’t wait!