Tuesday, September 30, 2014

...to watch Isabella play soccer.

...It seems it has been a really long time since we have gotten to see her play!

I am so proud of her.  Soccer isn't really her thing.  Not like reading is.  And writing is.  And drawing is.  Those are her things.

But she has really stepped out of her comfort zone and joined the soccer team at her school.  

The new girl.  The new girl from out-of-town.  The new-girl-from-out-of-town who would probably love to be anywhere but on a soccer field...  

She recognizes the importance of exercise and being healthy.  So she acquiesces to our encouragement to play a sport.

And wow has she risen to the challenge.

Will, the photographer for the afternoon, really captured some excellent action shots...

He was trying out some new camera angles.  

My favorite of the afternoon...

I love the excitement on her face!
She is rocking this soccer thing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

...to sand the walls

...and bake some bread.

Drywall dust was everywhere!  Wheat particles were all over.

Yesterday I took the vacuum in to be serviced.

Oh.  Dear.

Perhaps I should have waited till I had my vacuum back?

I painted our family room before all of our household goods were moved in.  And while I like the color, I did the job in a hurry.  I didn't patch the walls properly and I didn't sand them well...

These gouges have been staring at Mark and I since we finished the room.  I couldn't take it anymore.

So I created this makeshift save-our-television-from-dust contraption.  I taped the sheet to the wall so the dust would fall into the sheet instead of behind the television and then on top of all of the wires...

Aren't I clever?

I even created a tape-shelf for extra-excess-dust to hopefully be caught...

It worked.  There is no dust behind the television or on the wires.

I think I may have my work cut out for me tomorrow!

Oh...and the my whole wheat bread was delicious.  Thanks to Emily's tip...use the yeast from Sam's Club.

It may have been the best batch I have ever baked.    

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

...to share the pros

...of living in Ann Arbor.

I think I have mentioned once or twice that moving is hard.

I don't like making new friends.
I don't like finding new routines in new places.
I simply don't like things that are hard

I am turning a new leaf today!  I am going to try to find my inner Will and Mark.  They are always 'the glass is half-full' kind of people.

So here they are...the pros of Ann Arbor.

1.  The kids can be at their respective schools in less than five minutes flat.  Can't find the <insert item such as shoes, coat, hairbrush, mind>?  Oh.  Well.  Crazy morning?  No problem.  Missed the alarm?  No big deal.  Five minutes = awesome.

2.  Playgrounds.  Tons of them.  So many choices.  So many different types of playground equipment.  All only a walk or bike-ride away.  Monkey bars.  Spinny things.  Fire-man poles.  Wobbly bridges.  Swings.  Zip Lines.  Parks = awesome.

3.  Restaurants.  Real restaurants.  Any types of cuisine you can imagine are just a hop, skip, and a jump away.  Burritoes.  Pizza.  Pasta.  We can even have cookies delivered at our home until 2am!  Warm cookies at 2 a.m. = Really awesome.  

Sorry kids...we may never eat at McDonald's again (at least in the three years we live here).

4.  Grocery stores.  I am not kidding here...I have never lived in a town with so many options.  I have only heard of establishments with names such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.  They have certainly lived up to their legends in my mind.  We also have Hiller's....such a lovely place! 

Who calls grocery stores: LOVELY PLACES?  I'll tell you...A person who has mainly shopped at only commissaries and Walmarts for the last 15 years of her life!

Finally, Ann Arbor has a Meijer (two of them!) which is a particular childhood favorite of mine.  

I just may never go to a Walmart again (at least in the three years we live here).

5.  No responsibilities.  One of the nice things about moving to a new town is that the activity slate is clean.  We have started fresh.  We have very few commitments.  There are no committees I am responsible for, no classroom projects I have to create, and certainly no soccer teams that I have to coach.  No responsibilities = free time.

Free time = time to focus on the kids 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

...to have a little lemonade stand

...before the football game

Since we moved in to our home the little girls have been wanting to have a lemonade stand.

Game days in Ann Arbor means there is a lot of foot traffic by our home.  And the weather was perfect.

The big kids had an outing with Dad planned and when I asked the little girls if they wanted to go out or have the stand they jumped at the chance.

Isabella was kind enough to help them make a sign

and set up their table.

While some of the time Audrey may or may not have been more interested in dancing...

For the most part she and Abbey were so proud of their stand!!

They loved having people stop and talk with them.  They LOVED pouring their drinks for them.  And they loved counting their quarters.

They especially loved that their first customer was their school principal!

Who knew he lived close-by!

And while he may not be a cookie eater his dogs Frieda and Bella are.

Maybe next weekend they'll do it again.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

...to watch Abbey play soccer

...very early in the morning on Saturday.

We have been attending Abbey's soccer games as a family.  As you can imagine there have been many groans from the peanut gallery about this mandate.

However,  given that even very early morning games provide opportunities for activities like this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

even if they miss watching her score a goal...

.... we'll continue making sure the whole family attends these outing so they can enjoy the time together.  

Playing.  Moving.  Running.  Laughing.  Climbing.

Oh yes, and also so we can get awesome photos of the four of them like this:

#1 & #2 weren't so cooperative.

Maybe I should add the verb pouting to the list (although in this photo Audrey is anything but pouting!  That girl is whooping it up!)?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

...to begin to create

...my own routine.


The kids' each have one.  Their mornings and afternoons are now pretty routine.  (As in routinely I am nagging them to stay on track.)


Since school has started we have followed our menu pretty well and it keeps me honest.  (Three meals planned, prepped, and executed each day.  They may not be pretty.  And I am not sure they are very balanced, but they are filling and don't come from a box.)

Next to tackle...

My time.

I have found (the last two full weeks since school has started) that I can't seem to account for my time.  Part of the reason: I hardly know where to start there is so much to do...and the other part: I have found myself running errands...errantly.

I think I am lonely.

I miss my sidekick.

Thus, this week, I created an agenda.

  • A day for home tasks
  • A day for running errands
  • A day for preparing meals, snacks, & laundry (more home-y-ish tasks)
  • A day for socializing and appointments
  • A day for volunteering

Hopefully soon I'll build working into my routine.  Ideally, patients will start coming in and I can start working on my own.  The next best thing:  I can work for a school district part time.  A few opportunities have arisen, and I know something will work out soon.

Newsflash:  I am not a very patient person.

I miss working with families.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

...to enjoy my first game at The Big House

...Go Blue.

Did I just write those words?

I think it is OK to cheer on the arch nemesis of my alma mater when my alma mater is playing said team...right??

I promise I will not wear maize and blue in Spartan country.

I digress.

The kids and I were so lucky to have been gifted tickets from a friend of Meghan and Sean's.  Mark was unlucky in that he had problem sets to work on...thus he was 'the chosen one' to hang out with Audrey.

The view was incredible!

Will couldn't take his eyes off the game.  He loved every minute in that stadium!

The day featured many festivities that honored the military including special recognition for Veterans, a Bald Eagle circled the stadium during the opening ceremony, and there were several flyovers.

What a special day for us to attend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

...to plant

...to add some finishing touches around the house.

Plants add a 'lil touch of homey-ness to a room.

Call me crazy plant lady.

Mark does.

You should have seen the back of the truck moving here to MI.  Plants, plants, and more plants.  Oh yes, and a desert tortoise.

The only problem is, I do not have a very green thumb.

Many of my poor plants did not survive the trip.

And today was my chance to replant my pots...

I tried to bring back dead ones (note the white mums in the picture above)...transplant dying ones (thinking a smaller pot might help)...and saved a few from the clearance rack at Home Depot.

This was my favorite that I found today.

I saved him off the clearance rack for $1.00.  (I am pretty sure he was marked down on accident.)

This little guy was unsightly.  He was in a humungous pot on the clearance rack...all he has needed so far was a little TLC.  I pulled off the dead leaves and squished him in this little pot.  He may prosper yet. Although my family may cringe at the choice of the planter.  

Disclaimer:  I do live in Maize and Blue territory.

I saved several sorry little succulents...

And brought this beautiful, lush tree inside for the cooler nights.

I received this lemon tree for my birthday two years ago.  It may be hard to believe he didn't fare very well on the trip here to Ann Arbor (he was nearly leaf-less in mid-July).  However, spending the last six weeks on the back porch in the warm sun did wonders for him!

A small fern...

A little Jade...

Can you see the basil in the backyard?

The Superstar on the left was saved from the clearance rack too...only one dollar.

Little touches.

I just love the colors in the greens...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

...to make it through the third day

...of school.

The first day of school is exciting, new, and a little bit scary.
The second day of school is even better.  The first is over so it's not-so-scary and everything is still new.

The third day...maybe isn't so awesome anymore.  The charm of new has worn off.  

Lil' Audrey buried herself further under the covers when I went to wake her this morning.  She decided she didn't need to go to school today.  Thankfully, Abbey stepped in to save the day.  And played the role of Mother Hen all morning.  She even held Audrey's hand all the way to school.

Today was our first day to have an activity.  Which is probably a good thing in that it broke up the after school routine a bit, and it got us all some exercise.  We all rode our bikes the two miles to Abbey's practice.

She was super excited about soccer!

I love the colors in the picture and how her blue eyes stand out.

Unfortunately and unexpectedly (I believe Abbey told me I should have checked the weather) we got caught in a downpour on the way home.

Audrey at about the one mile mark:  "Look at my face!  Do I look happy?"
at the 1.5 mile mark:  "I am SO taking a hot shower when I get home!"

It just so happens the rain was a really warm rain and we rode our bikes past a Dairy Queen.

It turns out that eating ice-cream in the rain (at this point it was more a of a drizzle) makes up for riding bikes in a down-pour.

Do you think they'll ride their bikes to soccer next week?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

...to share a few things my children learned

...this summer by living in a college town.

Things I hope they don't share with their teacher.

1.  Music is best when you can feel it.  As in:  It must be played so loudly you can feel the vibration when we are biking/walking nearby.

2.  It is possible to get from the second floor of your home to the first floor of your home "without even using the stairs!!!"  True story.  Audrey noted this one afternoon after our family bike ride that all one has to do is jump out the window onto the roof below.

3.  Girls and boys must run through the neighborhood (and down our street) "practically naked" as Abbey noted this evening.

4.  In the event one does not have access to water AND you still really want to use a slip and slide...vegetable oil is a good substitute.   Preferable is a fraternity boy is pouring it onto the slide from a gallon container...

5.  Beer pong.  How it's played and how to set it up.  Need I say more?

The semester has barely gotten underway.  The students have been back less than a week...I wonder what other fun things I am going to have to explain?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

...the first day of school to go smoothly

...and it did.

If you can believe it...the day went off without tears.  (From them or from me.  Don't worry I fought them back).

Audrey is a little less sure of this first day of school thing...
Isabella: 6th
William:  5th
Abigail: 1st
Audrey: K

AND each of my children talked about attending school again tomorrow.

I call this success.

For reference...

they have changed quite a bit from last year...