Thursday, August 27, 2015

The day is finally here: Kindergarten

Our baby started preschool today.

Can you even believe it?
Here she is all smiles and looking thrilled to begin a new school year - complete with school lunches and access to the whole playground at recess - but the morning was a bit rough...

Jared woke her up and immediately she burst into tears. I don't know if it was the fear of the unknown that is the first day of kindergarten or tears because Sister loves her sleep.
She cried while getting dressed and getting her hair done. She cried on the way down the stairs and while her breakfast was prepared. (Homemade chocolate chip pancakes - her favorite.) She continued to sniffle and tear up while eating. All the reminders of the fun she was going to have at school made no difference. So we loaded up her new Disney princesses backpack and took pictures anyway. 

With the help of her siblings, she turned on a smile and some of the fear was forgotten.

Some before school sillies.

While Bailey was away learning and stuff, Avery and I were busy preparing a delicious after-school treat.  
Classic Mint Chocolate Brownies by Mel's Kitchen Cafe. 
(Mel is Jared's online homegirl. We are constantly making food from her website.) 
Bailey has started to get choosy about what desserts she prefers and is offering her opinion on which recipes we should try. She's been requesting this one since she saw a picture of it while Jared was browsing. 

Three o'clock arrived pretty quickly and back in the car I went.
I picked Bailey up in the entryway of the school and she ran to me like an airport scene out of a movie. Makes you feel loved. ;)
Her teacher said she had an excellent day and once I left, she adjusted immediately. No more tears. The unknown is scary - sometimes even for me as an adult - so I don't fault Bailey for being afraid. I'm just glad to know she was able to shake it off and have fun.

Once home Bailey told us about her day while she wolfed down two of those brownies. (Although I should caution Bailey to not get too used to homemade dessert for her snack every day. I'm not that awesome.)

She filled us in on the important stuff like, you know, what was for lunch.
When asked about her favorite part, she quickly answered: Recess.
She's got this school thing down already!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

12 days left

Here we are quickly closing in on single digits until Bailey goes back to school - kindergarten! - and this last month of summer feels like it has gotten away from me. My brain can't quite believe it's August, let alone mid-August, and the back-to-school vibes still feel so far away. There are still pencils to buy, a new backpack to select, and a tote of last year's clothes to pull out to see what's going to fit Lil' Sis. 

August has gone by so quickly, in part, because it's been filled with things. 

The kids rode in the annual Sweet Corn Daze parade again this year. My grandpa Ronnie always drives Justy as she advertises her massage therapy business. This year Grandpa was under the weather, so cousin Matt stepped in as the driver - official Ford hat and all.

Our job as supportive sisters this year was to hand out popsicles as we walked the route - definitely more of a sweaty workout than you would think.

The kids took in the festivities - free face painting, unlimited bounce house jumping, watermelon, food and more food.

Batman wears a crown and necklace as part of his disguise, right? 
*insert crying laughing emoji here*

And the yearly street dance.
Thanks to Uncle John for some drinks he didn't know he was buying.  ;)

We've spent many days just doing typical everyday things: walks to the park, the library, the pool. Visits to see great-grandparents and to friends' houses.

And braids. Oh, the braiding. 
Bailey loves 'em. The more the merrier.
(She's stuffing herself with sweets - typical - at Great-Grandma Connie's house.)

Meanwhile Jared's Etsy shop has been exploding. He's been researching a bit, changing his pricing, updating listings and it seems to have made a difference. Which is great except, for someone who works full-time and makes things as a hobby, getting 14 orders in 10 days is a bit overwhelming. Summer has typically been his time to stock-up on items that sell at a crazy pace during Christmas season, and he hasn't been able to do that at all this year. 

He did create this beauty for my parents' lake house in Okoboji, adding it to Etsy afterward, and it's been selling well.

The last few weeks have included doctor visits for Avery. I won't go into great detail, but she's experiencing symptoms that are worrying for us and for her doctor(s). So much so that our pediatric urologist recommended we take her to a large ER so she could get an MRI sooner than could be scheduled. So last weekend we hung out in the Omaha Children's Hospital ER for a good 9+ hours. 
Aunt Fe and Aunt Beaner came to keep us company. Thankfully it was a children's hospital so there was a list of movies a mile long and crayons to color with. 

And even better than crayons was the Cadillac Escalade Avery discovered charging in the corner of a blocked hallway. Within no time we were cruising in style. Believe me when I say they don't skimp on even the kid's version of a Cadillac. This thing had a working radio! The ER was basically deserted, so nurses stood at posts scanning open doors for us as we made our circle around over and over.

I can't say enough good things about our experience at Omaha Children's (oh wait, one exception - the lead anesthesiologist). The doctors and nurses were phenomenal. Just phenomenal.

Avery had an MRI done of her spine and it ruled out the one thing they were looking for, but didn't answer why she is still experiencing other symptoms. So off we go to a pediatric neurologist on Monday afternoon. I'm a worrier by nature and my brain always goes first to worst case scenario, so my mental space has been occupied for the last couple of weeks. However, I'm doing my best to Let Go, Let God. That means on some bad days my Christian playlist is working nonstop for a few hours, but it helps. We're doing all we can to get her the best care possible so we can figure out what is going on.

And along with all this other stuff, we're a foster home for the German Shepard Dog Rescue of Iowa and are now fostering a five year-old named Ben. His elderly owner passed away, and he needed a home while an adoptive family is found. 

Some of you might remember when Jared brought home a German Shepard puppy almost 3 years ago and I made him take it back. (Still sorry-not-sorry about that one.) This is a great way to embrace Jared's love of animals without the commitment of an extra dog full-time. Although, please don't think I am naive. I'm sure one of these times we will all fall hard in love and there will be no need to search for an adoptive home.

Ben is a chill dog. Honestly, he still seems a bit depressed and it is taking a bit for him to adjust to all the activity around our house. But he is sweet and well-behaved. And great with our kids. And our dog. And our cat. 
Graham has tripped and fallen on him multiple times and Ben just looked over, licked him, and went back to napping.
Ben will probably be with us for a couple more weeks. That gives us more time to discover his true personality behind some of the sadness and help in the selection of his forever family.

So that's our crazy life update. I'm hoping and praying that this next week goes as planned so we can fit in some school shopping between doctor appointments and a little two-day getaway for Jared and me before school starts. 

Here's to enjoying the last of what summer has to offer!