Back to School Routine

With back to school literally around the corner, I cannot help but think of routines.  I’ve never been one to follow a super strict schedule, but I do believe in the power of routines.  Babies thrive with them, children do well with them and I must say as an adult, I too crave routines.  It doesn’t mean you have to do the same exact thing every single day at the same exact time, but doing the same things daily do propel us further to success.

I thought I would share a few of my ‘routines’ with you!

Our morning routine was rather relaxed and I loved it that way.  We really had no obligations first thing in the morning other than getting Joe out the door to work on time and that was so very nice!  Next week will be an adjustment as Brooke will be out the door by 8:30, Bradley needs to be to school by 9 MWF and of course Joe works.  I take my job as a mama/wife pretty seriously, so I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to start my day, so that I can meet everyone else’s needs.

I know that for my day to be ‘successful’ and for me to feel at ease when my head hits the pillow, I wan to know that I did the very best I could.  Was I an exceptional wife?  An amazing mom?  Did I work on our business?  Did I prepare healthy meals? Did I do something that makes ME happy? Did I break a sweat? Did I do something special for someone else? We are never promised tomorrow, so I always try to make each day, my very best day.

Ideal Day:

6:00 Wake up! Drink pre-workout, journal, planner, blog, read (fill my cup!)

6:30/6:45 Iron clothes, let dogs out, feed them breakfast.

7:00 Push play on a workout.  I’m currently working through Morning Meltdown 100. They are all 30 minutes and under.

7:30 Wake up Brooke & Bradley, Get breakfast ready & make sure backpacks are good for the day.

8:00 Get Joe’s lunch/waters/vitamins/meds/breakfast ready. Make sure Brooke’s brushing hair, teeth, dressed well, etc.

8:25 Brooke outside to catch the bus, Joe leaves, Bradley brushes teeth/gets dressed.

9:00 drop off Bradley to school MWF

9:15-11:15 — Do I go grocery shopping? Shower? Work on our real estate business? Run errands? Walk the dogs?  Clean the house? Laundry?  I could also see me using this as some “do you time” — mani/pedi,  read a little, blog, if I feel myself needing a little something extra. There are also days where I go in and volunteer to be the helper at Preschool.

11:30 Pick up from Pre-K

12:00 lunch

12:30 Bradley quiet time/ABC Mouse, movie etc. while I work on our business or catch up around the house.

3:30 Tea Time — I brew a cup of tea and breathe!

4:00 Brooke’s off the bus, followed by after school snacks, homework, chores, play with neighbor friends, or dance class (one night a week.)  We may sign the kids up for a sport or swimming too, so this is just a rough idea of what life is like!

5:00/5:30 I typically start dinner. (I try so hard to meal plan to keep myself on track!)

6:30 Bath/shower

7:00 start bedtime routine, which consists of: Using the bathroom, brushing teeth, pjs on, quietly read books, I try to read books, and singing two songs before lights out.

The kids do best with about 11 hours of sleep per night it seems. 

My schedule is so wonky since I don’t have a 9-5, I have one kid mostly home, we run a real estate business that comes and goes with work to do.  I think sometimes I stress myself out because I have such a different lifestyle, but I do love it!  It’s just a lot different than what other people’s lives look like and that’s okay. I have learned to ‘bob and weave’ as Joe calls it, like when he needs a meal brought up to him or something! There are days when I feel like all I do is make call after call, or am at my desk for awhile. You just never know what pops up, like house fires, evictions, new buyers, new sellers, marketing, bookkeeping, it ebbs and flows so much!

What helps?

Once you figure out what your overall day looks like, find tools that work for you.

Planner. I am still a hardcore paper planner user.  I live by my calendar on the fridge, but I also write down nightly/daily what needs to happen throughout the week.   I am loving the Emily Ley Simplified Planner this year, and adore the new styles for 2020!  The daily planner has hour slots which has been super helpful for me to literally write out what and when I’m doing all the things.

Take a break! My daily “tea time” has been amped up since my bestie Ann sent me a Sipscription for my birthday!  It came with 4 different kinds to try.  You take a quick quiz and they send out teas they think you’ll enjoy, based on your answers. Check it out here! 

Workouts. I know I needed an under 30 workout for me to make these morning workouts happen, so I did commit to this.  I am currently on workout 30/100.  I don’t love the cardio ones, but I really enjoy the weighted workouts and the yoga flows.  My girl Lindsay and her crew keeps me accountable.  If you’re still looking for a good routine to sweat, check it out!

I hope a glimpse into my day may help some of you as you get ready to go back to school.  As you can see, I don’t give myself much ‘down time’ but I do best keeping busy my why is so engrained in me I don’t ever want to quit! I do enjoy podcasts or audiobooks while doing dishes/laundry etc.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day and we get to choose how we spend it.  I get it, some moms have to go to work outside of the house and some moms are in the newborn/infant stages, and if that’s the case, just worry about eating, sleeping & surviving!

Every new season of motherhood brings a new set of challenges but so many new blessings and experiences too.  If I’m being honest, this season is wonderful to me, but I also feel so weird because my babies don’t ‘need’ me so much any more!! I am getting more and more ‘free time’ because they’re becoming independent little souls who can do so much for themselves.  Of course, I fill the time up with working, cleaning, etc, but it’s an odd feeling to not be needed so much.  I’m also so excited for this new school year, but a twinge of sadness comes over my heart, as I love having them both home with me all the time.  Life is truly such a crazy beautiful ride and I am so blessed to enjoy these moments with my family.

What does your back to school routine look like?  Anything I should add or try out this upcoming school year?

Pre-K Graduation

Somehow, our little baby girl has graduated preschool.  Back in May, we had a small celebration at her school and it was adorable!

I was on the graduation committee and helped put together a fun little night for kids and parents, grandparents, friends and family.

Our girl loves animals (She really wants a cat) and says she wants to be a Veterinarian when she grows up.  Sounds like someone else I know!  (I always said I wanted to be that until I actually shadowed in a Vet office in High School.  We shall see what happens though!)

Each student received a little bucket with some fun Summer items to enjoy after school let out.  Another mama knocked it out of the park and really went above and beyond for our littles!

The theme was “Our Future is So Bright, We’ve got to Wear Shades!”  So much love and energy with this group of kiddos, I honestly miss taking her each week.

It’s a cute tradition where each child wears Dad’s white button-down shirt backwards and a sash.  I went into the classroom and helped put little hands on the top of their caps.

Delicious and adorable cookies were snacked on!

Their yummy cake!

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Mama was so proud of all of the hard work she’s done over the last two years.

Little bro hung in there pretty well…the ceremony was kind of tough for him but he was super happy about the cake!

Brooke and her bestie, LiviRose.

Brooke Lynn,

Your future is SO entirely bright.  You will shine amongst all of the stars.  I know that this is simply the beginning really, not just the end.  You have blossomed from a little three year old baby girl into such a big, intelligent, & compassionate soul.

I know that you get frustrated with the things that you don’t yet know, but if there’s one thing (okay, there’s many…) but one of them is that you don’t have to be perfect.  There is no such thing as perfection. It doesn’t exist.  My main hope for you is to always keep going and that progress is always more important than perfection .

Work hard, play hard and love unconditionally.  You will meet lots of different people in your life and they will all teach you a lesson, serve a purpose or at the very least, leave an imprint on your path.

Daddy and I know that whatever direction you choose to go in life, you’ll be successful and our biggest is wish is that you do what makes you happy.

For now, we urge you to play, slow down, and enjoy childhood. You’re such a good helper, big sister and constantly wanting to learn new things.

Your love for numbers, reading books, riding your bike, playing creatively with your animals and water is so much fun to watch as you grow.

We cannot believe our oldest is off to Kindergarten, but we are so grateful to be your parents.  It’s hard to believe 5 years ago we were stumbling around with a 6 month old and here we are getting ready to put you on a school bus.

We love you with all of our hearts and will always do the best we can at giving you the world.  Great job baby girl, on two wonderful years at pre-k.  Let’s have an amazing year at Kindergarten!

Love,

Mommy & Daddy

Letting them be Little

Ages three and five are so special!  On one hand, they’re not little itty bitty babies, but on the other there is so much they can’t yet do! If there is one thing I constantly focus on, it’s letting them use their imagination.

In world of On Demand TV, iPads, phones, Kindles, etc…it’s so easy to let the hours pass by and let the littles indulge.  I’m not saying we never use technology, we do!  The kids love Angry Birds and have a ton of fun little learning games.  We just try to limit the time they’re on it, like maybe a little in the morning while some family members still sleep…or if we are stuck inside on a rainy day, or even if we’re just feeling low key.

BUT, as the weather has gotten nicer, we are teaching them that using your imagination is much more fun!  It’s amazing what they come up with on their own. The latest favorite was “pretending to fly a drone like Daddy.”

They were using this toy and running room to room, window to window looking for their pretend drone.

Time is fleeting; I remember being excited when our store got these new green carts and they could both sit & drive together…someone is getting too long and not quite fitting any more though.

Changing of seasons meant new clothes!  This boy outgrew all of his clothes from last year and we headed right to Wal-Mart to grab some cute and inexpensive shorts.

This one goes through phases; will I be a kitty? A puppy? A human? She’s also obsessed with the movie, Matilda.  Her personality is something else for sure!

We took them for the first official ice cream of the year.  Someone was not happy he had to wait for mama to snap a photo.

We signed them up for Spring Soccer.  They do pretty well! This dude hasn’t done any classes of any sort quite yet, other than mini camps at the Y in the Summer.  He loves dribbling the ball and scoring goals!

Her class gets a little more into game playing etc, and she’s pretty good too! Daddy has fun ‘coaching’ her from the sidelines already.

If it’s one thing that is super tough for me, it’s finding the time to cook healthy meals while working the real estate, keeping the house, the puppy, pre-k, dance class…it’s as if I world went from 0 to 100 real quick.  I found myself getting into the chicken nuggets and whatever zone. FAIL.

It may not be the BEST option, but since dance classes are the hardest nights, I try to keep it easy.  This night it was a run to Wegmans for a rotisserie chicken, carrots and Brooke loves shrimp.

We all know how important lean protein and veggies are, so we are working on that.  I also made yummy blueberry flax muffins the kids were obsessed with. I’ll share that recipe as I need to make more!

We helped organize flowers for the pre-k fundraiser, so Bradley got to sit in on snack time.  He fits right in!! I know he’ll be more than fine next year. I can’t wait to see him grow leaps and bounds.

Brooke loves shoes and we recently added some jelly shoes to our collection. Who remembers these!?

Batman helped me make dinner.  He loves stirring and dumping the ingredients in.  Actual forming the meatballs? Not so much.

In this crazy season of life, there’s not much I can control.  I can’t even keep my floors cleaned for too long with a puppy, but I’m trying to just keep up as best as I can, ignore the mess and focus on at least one clean spot.

Buying flowers/candles helps too.

I thought about getting rid of the stroller, but it seems we are just not quite ready.  I’ve been pushing this thing around for 5 years and it’s still going strong. They are a load to push but they still love it and man it’s a good workout!

They use my old phone to take photos/videos and there’s always a surprise or two when I check.  Selfies of her feet in her water table. I about died.

We had our last “helper day” at Pre-K and it was Teddy Bear day!

Her and her bestie at school.

The last time she’ll hug these puppets…

The last time she’ll ring the bell…

To have been able to step in and be there for these helper days is not something I will take for granted.  I sometimes get caught up in the whole, “I should be doing more” (thank you Pinterest) but I have to turn that thought around and focus on all of the good and positive things I have been able to do.

I think back to the little 3 year old girl we sent off to preschool two years ago, and I stare in awe at the beautiful and silly 5 year old that will be walking out.  She said she was scared of Kindergarten, and I understand that a new big building will be a little scary, but she will thrive and flourish.  I can’t wait for all of the new things she’ll learn and do in school.

We never know if he’s going to be Batman, Spiderman or Black Panther.  He even ran around the house as Captain America the other day.  He insisted that he had to sleep with this mask on…so I let him.  I then crept in and removed the mask for the night after he was sound asleep.

Being a momma is …

exciting.

scary.

exhausting.

magical.

worrisome.

awesome.

I could go on and on about what I thought motherhood would look like, but really you just have to welcome the season you’re in and just be. 

The more I try to primp, prod, fix, set up, worry and try to control, the worse off we all are.  If I can just get up each day with a happy mindset and just do my best, we all have a better day.  Sure there are times when I’m ready to pull my hair out (enter a 3 year old who is so tired he didn’t want to nap…and then he falls asleep in the middle of the hallway as opposed to his bed.)

I just keep telling myself, this is 3  or she’s 5.  It’s just a season.  You’re going to miss this. Life won’t be crazy all of the time .  I even go as far as to picture myself lonely and alone with nothing to do but read a book…and that usually makes me teary eyed, so I will give into one more bedtime song, cuddle or kiss.

I’ll embrace the mess that is.

This is what life and motherhood is about…the little and mundane moments that together create our very existence of memories.

Wisdom Wednesday

I have been feeling the pull lately. That tug from the other side that stresses me, stretches me and causes a bit of frustration. I find myself gripping for something, and yet cannot seem to grasp.

I think I often forget my little children are just that. Little. They need, and need, and just when I feel like I have nothing left, I find myself just giving a wee bit more.

I feel exhausted and wonder if I’m actually doing anything right at times. I try so hard to enjoy everything– and I get so mad at myself if things aren’t going the way that I feel they should.

I truly believe that things come into our lives at the exact right times; maybe a book falls on the floor, a photo appears that speaks to you, or even something as silly as a you tube video appears on your phone.

HowJenDoes it channel is one of my favorites! I know I have shared her previously on my other blog; she runs her house like a pro, is a loving mother of two older boys and a devoted wife.  I sometimes watch her videos and get down on myself because, well, my house is not always spic and span like hers…toys are all over, crumbs are on the floor and the laundry is always piling up.

A few months back she made a video, for viewers just like me.  This hit me HARD this morning as I changed the sheets on our bed, sorted the laundry and picked up the kids’ rooms.  You can hear in her voice, how it cracks a little as she remembers when her boys were young–she shares what she remembers about that time.  Yes, it was hard and yes, it was a lot of work and she was exhausted, but the memories? They are there, embedded in her mind, that create her story of her staying home with her boys.

I’m living this right now.  I get to cuddle on the couch, wash their hair, make their day with hot cocoa and playing in the snow.  Everything is pure wonder, almost magic.  The innocence is surreal at times and although I am worn to the bone some days, these are the days.

These are the days we will look back on.

These are the moments I will miss.

Sometimes I try so hard to jump ahead and my word for 2018–BE–brings me right back down.  I need to just be their momma some days.  That’s all.  They don’t need much, in the grand scheme of life.  They need my love, they need to feel safe, they need to have fun, and of course they need structure.

This video even prompted me to stop and enjoy some lunch at the store before we picked up a few odds and ends.  Dining with a 3 and 5 year old is a bit crazy, but so much fun.

So if you’re a mom to young ones, maybe take a few minutes and watch Jen’s video.  One day this will be us, telling our younger mom self, we made it. The kids turned out great. Life is a beautiful and messy ride, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.