Archive for August, 2011

Wednesday-I think I can make it

August 31, 2011

I don’t know exactly what happened this morning, but I feel like I wasn’t running it at all. My alarm went off, I got up and quickly realized that I really couldn’t get started yet. I reset the alarm and fell instantly asleep. When it went off again I was mad! Mad! I couldn’t believe that the alarm on my phone was broken and going off at the wrong time. I looked at the time and realized it was me that was broken. I heard one of the older girls get up and I knew I’d better quickly get going or she was going to think something was seriously wrong. The lights are always on, the coffee going and I’m either on the computer or making lunches when she gets up. So I stumbled out and got going. Wow! I’m really off this morning.

I’m hoping a shower and some coffee will make me feel like myself again. I guess all the driving and juggling of schedules (not that it’s new for me) is getting to me. You’d think I was the one running the mile in P.E. then going to water polo practice and then heading to soccer. I sure hope this is just a need to get used to it all again and not a sign of getting old (er). So, coffee, food and a shower and I’m hoping to get it all back in line and get this day off to a better start. Though I’ll admit, Saturday can’t get here soon enough!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Overdoing Frugal

August 29, 2011

I really have to watch my kids. They run the spectrum from demanding to overly frugal. I just picked up my elementary school kiddos and noticed Tristan’s sandal looked funny. I asked him to pick up his foot & show me his shoe. You’re seeing what I saw. I appreciate him trying to maximize the wear from his sandals, but come on! There’s such a thing as overdoing frugal!

So into the trash went his sandals and I added “sandals for Tristan” to my ever-growing list of things to buy.

Doing the Dance of the Children, Shoes & All~

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My Monday, So Far

August 29, 2011

It’s 9am and I’m starting to tiptoe around this day because it’s already thrown a couple of curve balls my way.

I normally get up at 4:15 and get the day rolling. I wake the little ones up at 6 so they have plenty of time to eat, dress, etc. But when my alarm went off this morning, Lex sleepily stumbled into my room saying he was hungry. I scooped him up and put him in my bed, but he was having no part of lying there alone. So I laid down, careful not to fall back asleep. He was doing the same. I finally handed him crackers and went to take my shower. He never fell back asleep! It’s gonna be ugly when I get him from school. Nap time!

After I got everyone to school, I came home looking for something to eat. If you’ve ever been around me at breakfast time, you know I’m not a lover of traditional breakfast foods. I’d much rather enjoy last night’s leftovers than scrambled eggs or a “breakfast pastry”! I looked through the fridge and found some leftover pot roast with baby carrots and rice. Yum! I heated it up and sat down to enjoy. Clearly, I’ve lived in this house longer than I think because when I took my first bite I was instantly reminded of the scene in O Brother, Where Art Thou? where Pete’s cousin, Wash Hogwallop (I had to type his name for the smirk factor), declares, “I slaughtered this horse last Tuesday. I believe it’s startin to turn” (or something close to that). This is NEVER a good scene to be reminded of when you’re eating! I daintily placed a napkin over my mouth and removed the piece of roast. Just kiddin! I ran to the kitchen and spit it into the sink, making all sorts of super attractive noises and then dumped the rest of it. Then I ate a yogurt because I’m pretty sure that’s gonna take care of any ick that’s happening inside me right now. Blech!!!!!

So, yogurt and a full 12oz of water ingested and I will spend the rest of the day looking around the corner and tiptoeing quietly, hoping that Monday forgets about me from here!

I hope your Monday is less Mondayish than mine

Doing the Dance of the Children on a Monday~

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An Excellent Idea For ALL Kids

August 25, 2011

I LOVE this!!!!

Max came home on the 1st day of school and told me about this system in his classroom. His teacher also explained it to me and let me know that Max was already using the “Compliment Card” and the “Breaking News!” forms. In the last couple of days Max has received Compliment Cards from classmates. He’s LOVING this! Even better are the Breaking News! forms, because it enables a kiddo like Max, who has a really tough time NOT speaking his mind the very moment an idea or story pops into his head, to jot down what he has to say and to feel confident that when the teacher or parent who gets the form, has time, they will give it proper attention.

Max’s teacher let me know that he promptly grabbed a stack of each form, to be ready for when he would need them. Today he brought some home so I could utilize this great system at home.

The third form is “Tattling Turtle” and is to be used when a child feels upset about something or is having a problem with someone or something. GREAT! Now, if I can make a zillion copies, wallpaper the walls of my home in them, hand each kiddo a pencil and listen to their closed mouths and scribbling pencils! If only~

Seriously, I love the idea of this program for all kids, not just my super verbal, “I’ve got an idea”, Asperger’s kiddo. I hope he uses the forms at school AND at home and I’m open to my other kiddos using them too!

Here’s to great ideas that bring the hope of a little peace in the home and classroom!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Always Searching for a Better Way~

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Catching up With My Roving, Roaming and Wandering Oldest Children

August 24, 2011

I’ve been getting lots of questions about my oldest 3, who are away at school. Here’s an update with what I have to share;

Kateri spent her summer interning at the National Right to Life in DC. She finished up this last week and headed to New York to meet up with Mariah, spend the weekend with her, drive her to Rhode Island to get some schooling issues wrapped up and then deliver her to her roommate in Boston (I think). She’s then heading back to Ohio for her final year of school there. I’m sad that she can’t come out to see the new house before school starts, but we are in daily contact and I’m happy she was able to help Mariah out! I’m hoping to see her at Christmas!

Kateri’s in the coral dress

This is what JJ (Clayton) looked like the last time I saw him, in May. He did some working and traveling this summer. He was working on a ranch in Oklahoma and is now at Wyoming Catholic. It’s been nearly 3 weeks since I’ve heard anything at all from him. The school has a 3 week backpacking trek as their Frosh Orientation. I can’t wait to hear all about it! He took a year off of school for travel and work, so both he and Mariah are Freshmen this year.

Mariah stayed in San Diego for the summer to work. She just left last week and went to New York to attend the Ring Dance for the Coast Guard Academy with her boyfriend, Richard. Kateri met her in New York and then drove her to school to get some things wrapped up. She then delivered her to her roommate’s house until they travel to school together. I’m hoping she has a wonderful college experience and I sure hope to go out and be able to visit at some point.

I love that my kids are comfortable with traveling and going off to whichever school they feel best fits them. The Gypsy Wind that blows through my soul has certainly whispered in my kids’ ears. But…I sure do miss them! I love to see these amazing people, living their lives. I hope Christmas gets here quickly so I can have everyone together again!

Doing the Dance of the Children, Even the One’s Who are Far Away~

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One of the Strangest Conversations I’ve Ever Had

August 23, 2011

When we were driving to kill time before school, we saw a mom and her son walking. We noticed that he had the same lunch box as Max and Lex said he recognized him. When I got Lex to school, sure enough, the mom and boy were there. I introduced myself and shared my little story of Lex recognizing her son by his lunchbox. Then she said this;

Mom-Yes, we walk over here because I requested an inter district transfer because I’m usually pregnant and it’s a shorter walk than to the school he’s supposed to go to.

Me-Wow! That’s something you don’t usually hear. I have 9 kids and I guess I could say I’m “usually” pregnant.

Mom-Well, I’m a surrogate.

Me-Oh! How many babies have you been a surrogate for?

Mom-1. So I’ve had mine and the one other, but I’m planning on more.

Me-*Quizzical look* Oh. Good luck.

Seriously?! “I’m USUALLY pregnant” and she’s had 2?! I thought she was going to tell me she’s been a surrogate for 5 or more babies. I guess being pregnant twice in 4 yrs (her son is 5 and the baby is a year old) constitutes a whole lotta pregnant in some people’s eyes.

Doing the Dance of the Children…Really~

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Running Against the Clock With Time to Spare~

August 23, 2011

In my life-long quest to never be late, I am often accused of being anxious about time. This would be true!

When I was growing up, we were late to EVERYTHING. My mom did not and does not think schedules are important and I often heard her say things to the effect of, “I have 9 children…”. Even before I had 9 children of my own, I was determined to be on time or early to everything. I’ve done a fairly good job of making that happen, but in the process, I’ve made my kids hate me in the mornings. I am always budgeting the minutes in each day and dolling them out in a miserly fashion. One of my children has picked up this trait and he watches time to the very minute. I appreciate this!

This morning was the first day of me getting all the kids to all their schools. Until now, the girls have had a morning carpool. They will continue to get rides 2 days a week, but today was all me. Last night I let all the kids know that we needed to leave at 7 on the dot. This morning I woke each of them to, “Good morning. it’s time to get up and get going. We need to leave right at 7.” I probably reminded them of the 7:00 leaving time another 3 times before 7:00 actually got here. Overkill? Yeah, probably, but it’s what I do. So, 7 rolls around, Gabi doesn’t have her shoes on, Max is playing with Legos and Lex is building a marble track. My heart started racing, my tone completely changed and I started hustling everyone through what they still needed to do. We were in the van at 7:06. Completely unacceptable by my OCD standards. I gave them the speech about the importance of being on time and that I gave them ample notice of the morning’s schedule. We drove over to the high school, dropped the girls where they asked and drove away. I looked at the clock-7:14. I started thinking, “Wow! That didn’t take long at all!” (my girls used to go to school 15 miles away from our house and I’d have to drive them to school and then get the other kids to school and myself to work by 8am. I tell you this to give you a lil insight into where my mind was). Then I started driving toward Max’s school. I knew that there were 15 minutes before the earliest time he could be dropped off. I knew it wasn’t going to take me 15 minutes to get there. Hmmm…. So we drove to the school and toured the neighborhood. I announced that we had 10 minutes before Max could be dropped off. Lex piped up, “Mom, if we have 10 minutes then you got mad about nothing this morning”. ~Sigh~ Leave it to the 5 yr old to hand you a bag full of truth. I said, “Yes, I’m sorry. I didn’t know we’d have so much time. I’m sorry I got upset. You all did fine”. Lex replied, “It’s ok. It was just nothing”. I dropped Max off, drove over to the other school, parked, tied Gabi’s shoes, walked Gabi to class, met a mom who’s daughter is in Gabi’s class, walked Lex to class, kissed him goodbye and drove away. All with time to spare.

Live and learn!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Watching the Clock~

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This Week Held A Lot-School/Travel/Court/Camping and More

August 21, 2011

What a week! Everyday of this life as M.O.M. keeps me Doing the Dance of the Children, but with the start of school, this week held extra Dancing. The first day of school went as smoothly as we could expect when living in an area for only a week and juggling 2 elementary schools that are on the same bell schedule. I got Tristan, Gabi and Lex to their school and Max and I waited outside the classroom with Lex until the teacher came out. All the other parents were full of a mix of emotions. You could see the pride, excitement and that twinge of sadness as their lil ones headed to the line for their first day of being a “big” kindergartener. Me? Well I was anxious for her to hurry up and open the dang door already so I could get Max over to his school on HIS 1st day and not have him be late. Yes, I took pictures, hugged my lil guy and told him what a great time he was going to have, but I was toe-tapping for the moment I could dash out of there. Sure enough, I got Max to his school and everyone was already seated at their desks. ~Sigh~ His teacher knows that I’m single-parenting and juggling 2 elementary schools, so she’s forgiving. Thank goodness!


1st Day 2011-Lex Kinder, Gabi 1st, Max 3rd, Tristan 6th


Lex on his 1st day of Kinder. My lil guy’s a big boy!


Gabi on her 1st day of 1st grade. Beauty!


Lex in front of his classroom, pointing to his name

I have to add that Max is also very forgiving. I was worried when I had to tell him that he was going to be in a separate school from his siblings. But I think the key to having him be ok is giving him as much information as possible and presenting it in a positive way. His teacher seems GREAT! She called me after the 1st day to give me a rundown on how Max did and what she observed. We discussed his particular needs, strengths and challenges. She seems compassionate to his needs and determined to help him have a successful year. I couldn’t ask for more. So far, he seems happy. He has expressed that he wishes he knew more kids, but I know that will come. There have only been 3 days of school, these things take time!

The other kids seem ok too. Lex is happy with his teacher and class. He’s a really easy-going kid and he plays easily with other kids, so I don’t doubt that he’ll make friends quickly and be a happy kindergartener. Gabi says that kindergarten was harder than 1st grade. We’ll see how she feels in a few weeks, but I do know that the curriculum and expectations were more rigorous at the last school. I have mixed feeling about that. Wait, that’s not the truth. The truth is that I’m sad that I can’t give the kids the level of education they’ve become used to. But I can’t beat myself up over it. Even if we stayed in San Diego and even if I wasn’t getting divorced, that education could no longer be afforded. So I have to accept this change and trust that the kids will be ok. At this time it’s all I can do. If things change in the future, I’ll revisit the subject.

That brings me to the 2nd day of school. THAT was a juggling act! I had to leave the night of the 1st day of school so that I could be in San Diego for our settlement hearing the next day. We had come to an agreement the night before, but the trip still had to be taken because papers had to be signed and an appearance still had to be made. I chose to live in this area for many reasons. I didn’t choose this lightly. I weighed cost of living, schools and the fact that I would have a ready-made support system of friends and family in place. That support system proved itself this week! My sister came to stay with the kids overnight and then got them to school the next day. Then my friend, Jen (who has been more than any friend could be expected to be over these last 6 weeks) came to do the pick ups. Once the older girls were home from school (btw-we’ve been plugged into a carpool by a great group of ladies who have stepped up to help me have a little time to get settled. A friend from high school happens to have a high schooler at my girls’ school AND lives in my new neighborhood. She got us set up with a carpool and also walked baked goods over…YES! THAT is Good Stuff!), they took over for the evening and I flew back in late that night. Whew! Doing the Dance for sure!

While I was in San Diego I managed to see several people, get all the important paperwork done, appear in court, run errands and meet up at Costa Brava with friends before heading to the airport. Have I ever mentioned how much I love Costa Brava? No? :-) It was great to pop in for a little while, enjoy some tapas, sangria and wine and be treated to a round of creme brulee shots and my favorite dessert…I’d tell you what it is, but I have NO idea how to spell it. It’s vanilla ice cream with a burnt top, like creme brulee and it sits on a bed of sliced strawberries. YUM! That restaurant is so warm and welcoming! It always feels like a home away from home and the food is Mmmmm! So good! If you haven’t gone, you should!


Great ladies and our round of creme brulee shots


Enjoying that dessert!

I got home late, picked up the house (it’s amazing what 6 kids can do to a place when left alone for the after-school/dinner/bedtime hours) set my alarm for 4:15 and went to bed.

The kiddos were happy to wake up and find me there and ready to get the routine rolling. I made lunches, signed papers and heard all about the girls’ high school classes. Then it was off to school and time for this M.O.M. to tackle more of this house. The kids headed off for a weekend camping trip with their dad and my brother and I tried to get my head around what tasks I should complete while I have no little ones demanding my attention. But first, I went and played Bunco! I’ve been invited to join a group and was happy to get into something social. In the last 2 years, I had really pulled away from all the social activities I was used to being a part of. I’m enjoying jumping in again!

Everything is coming along nicely. We’re settling in and I’m hoping it all starts to feel homey and “regular” soon. I’m EVER grateful to all the wonderful people who have made this transition as smooth as possible. I truly couldn’t ask for better people in my life.

So, I’ve stocked the kitchen, unpacked more boxes, hung more decor and am preparing for a load of dirty, stinky, tired kiddos to arrive at sometime tomorrow. It’ll be my job to clean them up, wash the dirty clothes and convince them to go to bed to be ready for school on Monday morning. Wish me luck!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Grateful For The Music~

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The Night Before School Starts!

August 17, 2011

Normally the night before the 1st day of school is full of nervous butterflies, back packs lined up, clothes folded and waiting at the end of the bed, etc. Not this one! The day’s been so full and at 10pm we are just finally home from soccer, dinner with friends, picking Maddi up from her flight from San Diego and getting soccer carpool home. There are no carefully planned outfits ready and waiting and no new back packs full of new school supplies. Tristan and Gabi will be using their back packs from last year, Lex isn’t allowed to bring one and Max will be needing a new one. The school supply shopping will have to wait until this weekend and I’ll think about the lunches at 4am. Tonight will be used to finish filling out the paperwork that Lex’s teacher sent home with me from our meeting this morning. Yep, I’m going to be THAT mom, you know-the one with the excuses for why my kids won’t be ready until next week. Ugh! There’s really nothing I can do about it.

I took Lex to meet his teacher this morning. She seems like just the right kind of Kindergarten teacher. He felt very at ease and is excited to be in the “Dinosaur” class. It seems that the schools around here assign animals to the classrooms. I don’t know what Gabi or Tristan will be, but Max (who’s at a separate elementary school from the other 3 kids :-( ) will be a “Gator”. He and I went to his school and met with his teacher today. She was really great. I gave her a quick overview of Max, who he is and what to expect of and from him. She gave me a hug and told me she promised to love him. A strange, but welcome response. I do think it’s going to be ok. I really do. Why think of it any other way? I did everything I could to get everyone in the same school and no matter what, Max ended up elsewhere. I have to decide that this is a piece in the Big Puzzle of Our Lives that I just don’t have the picture on the box for. So…tomorrow morning the Dance of the Children will, once again, be done with a wake up time of 4am, a crock pot meal prepared, lunches lined up on the counter and dashing out the door around 7am. No problem! We’ve got this!

Now to digest the fact that my baby, my last lil guy, is off to Kindergarten. He’s totally ready and I can’t really say I’m not. It’s so good for him to be in the structured environment of school and here, as opposed to San Diego, Kindergarten is 1/2 day. He’ll go till noon until after Thanksgiving. Then they modify the day and he’ll get out at 1:20. It’s going to make for a year of juggling and Dancing, but again…I got it!

Now to spread out all this paperwork and get it done!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Some Good Stuff to Share From M.O.M.

August 12, 2011

In the midst of all my moving and trying to get kiddos set up for school that starts NEXT week, I had the opportunity to speak with Gretchen of MommyCast as a Mom Correspondent for the show. Check out the show here. And the topic?…Moving with children, of course!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Sharing the Good Stuff~

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But How Do You Know-An Insightful Question

August 10, 2011

There’s been so much going on lately with our move and trying to get settled that I haven’t had much time to focus on the individuality of each of my kids. All in all they’ve done a fantastic job of rolling with it over the last 5 weeks. I was worried about how Max would deal with the uncertainty of the summer. He’s done an excellent job of asking questions and trying to accept the answers. The other day he asked a great question that gave me a little insight into his mind.

We had gone through a Starbucks drive-thru. I ordered my drink and then asked for cups of whipped cream with caramel sauce for the kids. This is something we did about once a week in San Diego, so I didn’t think much of the order. This Starbucks has clearly not been conditioned to me and the kiddos and really wasn’t sure what to do with that order. After they handed everything to me I told the kids that we wouldn’t be doing it anymore, because the barista was clearly unhappy with it. Max asked me how I knew she was unhappy, when she smiled and handed them to me. I had to realize that part of his living with Aspergers means that he doesn’t effectively read body language or social cues. That’s such a big part of society’s normal communication, that it must really be difficult to understand what people mean if you cant’ just trust their words. I explained that when people get uncomfortable or unhappy that the tone of their voice changes, even if they are still smiling and that just because someone says, “ok”, that they may still be unhappy about it. Of course, this led him to ask why they wouldn’t just say, “no”. I explained that people try to make other people happy by saying, “yes” when they don’t really mean it.

It was good to get a little insight into his confusion about people’s behavior and to better understand some of the pieces that are hard for him to process. I’m hoping that he continues to ask questions…WAIT!…It’s Max, he ALWAYS asks questions! I guess what I mean is that that I hope he continues to ask questions that help me better understand him and that get him the answers to some of the tough stuff.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Adventures In My New House-Day 1

August 7, 2011

I love so many things about this new house but as I’ve really looked at everything, I’ve found a few little items that I have a feeling will end up giving me trouble. I didn’t expect the 1st one to happen on Day 1 of our move-in. But with kids, I guess you should always expect the unexpected!

This was me, yesterday. Though, the hands in the drawing look a lot calmer than mine did.

The kids’ bathroom has 2 doors into it. Both have locks. When I saw that, I KNEW that at some point there was going to be a kiddo who was going to think it was funny to lock both doors and leave. Gabi got the award. As soon as I saw her shut the door and she looked at me, I knew what had happened. I don’t have any tools at the house yet and there wasn’t a “hidden” key above either of the doors. So I loaded up the kiddos and was headed out to pick up a couple of screwdrivers. On the way out of the neighborhood I noticed a garage sale with a washer and dryer available. Whoo Hoo! I stopped to ask questions. Once we got talking I ended up sharing my locked bathroom story and my friendly, new neighbors handed me 2 screwdrivers to try out. Hooray for friendly and helpful neighbors! It took me about 1/2 an hour, but I got the knob off, the door unlocked and the knob replaced AND…I bought the washer and dryer! I’m excited to be able to start doing our laundry in the house.

Now to find a refrigerator and buy some screwdrivers to keep handy!

Doing the Dance of the Children, One Adventure at a Time~

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Skyzone Sports Customer Appreciation Day! Come Join the Fun!

August 5, 2011

The end of summer is around the corner and Skyzone Sports in Rocklin is making it easy to get a little last minute fun in before we all head back to school.

Come out Wednesday, August 10th for Skyzone Sports’ Customer Appreciation Day Event. Discount jump tickets will be offered all day and from 12-3pm you’re invited to participate in contests, giveaways, food offerings, face painting and more!

Join me and some of my kiddos for an afternoon of fun!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Getting Ready for Some Serious Jumping~

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August is Full of Good Stuff!

August 4, 2011

Each new day, new week, new month, new year holds the potential for Good Stuff. We all look at the newness before us as another chance to get it right, to fill our lives with peace, joy and purpose. I have to say that the month of August has been full of just that. On August 1st I handed over the deposit on the new home for my kiddos and myself. Tomorrow I do the walk thru and sign the lease, which means getting the keys! I’m hopeful that Clay’s request for a DITY move is approved (he’s offered to move our things from San Diego to the new house so that we get everything right away instead of waiting up to 3 weeks for the movers). The kids will start their new schools in just a couple of weeks. My 15 yr old daughter will finish up all she’s been doing in San Diego and come join us in this beautiful, new home. Tristan will turn 12 at the end of this month. And to top it all off, I was able to record 2 podcasts with Gretchen of MommyCast that will be released soon. I have to say that August is looking GREAT!

Yes, there’s lots of work ahead-getting back into the school routine, juggling sports, Boy Scouts and finding a new church to get involved in, getting settled into our new home and learning the area, finding our new favorite stores and places to visit. Lots of work and lots of life ahead and I am ever-hopeful that it continues to fall into place and bring more beautiful, supportive people into our lives.

Believe!

I’m looking ahead with joy and hope and glancing behind at the long road I’ve walked and holding onto it so that I remember that even in the toughest of days there’s hope and that with each new day you have to start with the belief that all the Good Stuff is lying ahead, ready for your to grab it, own it and find joy in it.

Thank you for all the good wishes, loving support and prayers that have come my way during this journey. Look, they worked because we believed!

Good Stuff!

Doing the Dance of the Children Full of Faith in All That’s Good~

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An Update Full of Good Stuff

August 1, 2011

I can’t believe so many days got away from me! But each of them has been full of work and keeping the kids busy and entertained.

All the work has paid off in the housing area! We are getting the keys to our beautiful new home on Friday! We are all very excited to live in this house! I’ll post pics when I have some, but it’s a great house in a great and convenient area. Now for the work of getting everyone enrolled in schools and getting ready to unpack and set up when everything arrives. Clay offered to DITY the move so we don’t have to wait 3 or so weeks to get all of our stuff. Anna took him up on his offer and on Friday she will ride down with him to San Diego (I think that in addition to her wanting her things before school starts, that the added bonus of a trip back to SD motivated her pushiness). We should have all our belongings on Monday. Let the work begin!

Other than all the paper work and computer work I’ve been tackling, there’s been trips to the river, a swim lesson for Gabi and Lex, an overnight trip to Grandma & Grandpa’s, visiting with Auntie Peggie, trying to catch crawdads and lots of laundry.

Now the kiddos are headed out to a camping trip with their dad and I’m going to catch my breath, go through paper work, try to get school stuff in order, pack up all our belongings from our friends’ house that we’ve been staying in and try to be ready to tackle all that’s before me.

Dance, dance, dance! Doing the Dance of the Children even on the days that I’m on my own~

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