Monday, August 23, 2010

Fulton goes to Big Boy School

Our sweet, kookie, big-little boy headed off to school today. I can't believe it's here! He seems way too little to be going to school from 7:30-2:30. It's such a long day! I said it when Sam went to school and my thoughts haven't changed...The time has gone so quickly. I wish I could stop it!!!
He did great this morning though. He was happy to be walking to school with big bro, Sam.
But I will so miss my fun afternoons with Fu-bird (MM2). We always had some play time with Oliver before his nap and then Fulton and I would get some time together. I really looked forward to it. Oliver and I will really miss his company and funny stories about his day.
This was a very hard drop off for me for some reason. I guess because Sam didn't start all-day school until 5k. Fulton's going a year earlier. UUHHG! He's so little and I'm going to miss the preschool that I've known for 6 years!!!
I have so many hopes for my little Fu.
I hope he will make great buddies, like the ones at KP. Thankfully, his best buddy Wright will be in his class and I think Fulton would be happy if that was the only kid in there. He LOVES Wright! 
I hope he takes advantage of rest time. He's going to need it!
I hope he learns oh so much. He's my little sponge and really enjoys learning!
I hope I have spent enough time with him being my middle-man. It's kinda hard sometimes to balance it all. I want him to feel like he got plenty of mommy time before I sent him off to big-boy school. Hello Mom guilt!
I hope he loves it and is as happy as he looked when we dropped him off.

I, on the other hand, probably didn't look so happy at drop off. I think I sobbed for an hour afterwards. I kept reminiscing about all the fun things we did together while Sam was at school and I was pregnant with Oliver and it was just the two of us. I thought about leaving the tiny sweet Jesus-Bubble preschool and going into a BIG classroom with lots of new rules and faces. Am I doing the right thing?

At this point it's in God's hands! I know He is holding Fulton in His palm and that everything will be just fine!!! Right?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

DAY ? (i've lost track)

Sorry folks! I got hit by a bus this week...a school bus that is.
Public schools are back in! MM1 started this past Monday and MM2 starts this coming Monday. MM3 starts on Wednesday but will only be going 2 days and starting at 9 a.m., so I can handle that.
Any who... so here's a rundown of the pandemonium of this week's DO's and DON'Ts...

August 13th- We went out for a Hibachi dinner to celebrate Back to School/End of summer/The Yard Man's Birthday...gotta love a multi-purpose dinner. We came home to feast on an awesome ice cream cake and to watch the Yard Man open presents!

DO schedule and end of summer and back to school celebration. It makes a nice segue into the next phase. Take a family photo, even if it's a snapshot, every 2 months so you're not scrambling when you need a recent one.
DON'T try to get someone in a Japanese Restaurant who doesn't speak English to take a family photo. After 3 attempts of trying to tell her how to use my camera (it's not even a nice one) they were all terrible. I was better off setting the timer and snapping one of us at our house later, before doing cake and presents. (MM1 has to take a recent fam photo to school to put at his work station and we needed one ASAP.)

August 14th- The Yard Man's Birthday- We pawned off the MM's on my in-laws so we could participate in a Scavenger Hunt. It was hilarious! The weather did not cooperate and we learned that if you'd like to do as well as possible, you might want to READ THE DIRECTIONS/RULES!! We were on a team with another couple, one of my long-time friends and her husband. The directions clearly stated..."wear comfortable clothes and running shoes". (Please note the picture and some of what we were wearing.) The boys were semi-comfy and we were zero comfy running around our metropolis digging up answers to riddles in the pouring rain. I had on white shorts and flip-flops and my dear friend had on white pants and flip-flops. Everyone was laughing at us as they arrived in their running clothes and raincoats. Clearly, we were the "new participants". Needless to say, our team politely bowed out of the hunt after the first set of clues was complete and went out for dinner instead!

DO get together with your oldest friends more frequently than not. We laughed harder than I've laughed in a very long time. READ the rules and directions before you agree to do anything.
DON'T wear white ANYTHING or flip flops when running in the rain.

August 15th- Everything was set out for the first day of school...clothes, book bag, lunch bag, school supplies, etc. MM1 had already set out all his clothes for the upcoming week in his hanging clothing organizer (a new thing we started---so far, so good) so it was easy to just grab and go.
August 16th- AM Gimme 5's were all checked off and MM1 was off to his 1st day of school. (MM2 was equally excited to sport his school shirt in support of MM1). They decided to scooter instead of walk and we even had time to stop and pet a kitty along the way. Great start to a great week and hopes for a great year.

DO set everything out the night before and get kiddos to select their clothes/uniforms for the week the Sunday before.

DON'T forget to put helmets on those precious heads as they scooter or bike to school. (I forgot. While it's only a short distance, they could still get very hurt. They need to be responsible to remember for themselves but I need to be responsible enough to enforce it.)

August 17th-August 20th- MM2 & 3 and I enjoyed polishing of summer vacay together. MM2 is off to school on the 23rd ALL DAY EVERYDAY. Bittersweet for sure. I will surely miss him and all our snuggle time in the afternoons. We spent a few days doing lots of puzzles, playing with legos, coloring and reading favorite books. On Friday we enjoyed our $$$$$ date to the local children's museum. We haven't been in quite some time (I think since I was preggo with MM3)  and the prices have gone up!!! After our trip to the museum we went to  meet his new school buddies at a meet-and-greet play date organized by another momma blogger. He really enjoyed his day and MM1 really enjoyed his 1st week of school.

This week we also received some bad news about my sweet neighbor's son. He was 56 and passed away quite unexpectedly from gall-bladder complications that led to pancreatitis. My neighbor is 45 years my senior, the mother of 5 very successful boys and full of so much faith and strength. I went to visit with her on Thursday night. I sat in her den with a few of her close friends and chatted the evening away, like good friends do. And even though I was the youngest in the room, we all had something in common...we were mothers. I might be a little newer to the profession, but we still shared the same wants and fears for our children. In so many words, we talked about how we love them with all our hearts, miss them when they're away, regret the things we should have done more of and the things we shouldn't have. We laughed and cried. And when I walked home I thought about that wonderful common bond, the tie that binds...motherhood. It's an amazing thing.  

When I was relaying the sadness of the situation to another friend we were talking about the dread and nightmare of having to bury a child. I'm sure it's the ULTIMATE blow to a parent. I wonder if it is because Mary had to bury Jesus. She suffered the ultimate blow. My Grandmother, dear friends, and so many other women have also. It's the unimaginable. I think you'd have to have a faith made of steel to cope. My heart goes out to these women. Truly. How do they move on?
Any who...thoughts and prayers to my sweet neighbor and her family.

DO squeeze the littles as much as possible, even if they're not "littles" anymore.
DON'T take your opportunities for granted...opportunities to thank God for your blessings, to play with your babies, to hug your loved ones, to tell someone you love them, or to laugh and cry with good friends, no matter what the age gap is.

The 1st week of school went really well. For that I am thankful. It's nice to know your child is enjoying school. It takes a little bit of worry off your plate. I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend of NO OBLIGATIONS. So that's the pandemonium for this week. No real organizing...just some beginnings of new school years, celebrations of birthdays, and appreciating being a Momma.

Practical Tip- 1-Celebrate and capture the seasons of life on camera as frequently as possible, 2-Follow the Rules...they're written for a reason, 3-Enjoy sweet friendships 4- Be prepared and Safety 1st even when times are tough or it's hard to remember everything because we are responsible for these little blessings, 5- Though it is hard to understand and we question why, He has a plan and we will praise Him

Practically Put- [1] For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

[2]Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. -Joshua 1:8 (even when it's a scavenger hunt!!!)

[3]A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. -Proverbs 17:17
[4]I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever. -Genesis 43:9 (sounds pretty harsh, I know for forgetting to put on bicycle helmets...but you know what I mean.)

[5]Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. - Job 1:21

Practically Yours,

Friday, August 13, 2010

DAY 10

Today, I decided to clean out our toy closet and have MM 1 & 2 participate. Oh what a joy that was! I armed myself with my keep, ditch, donate bags. After sifting through all the Star Wars men missing appendages, happy meal toys, and toys worth saving, we could see clearly and make sense of who, what, when, and where. It was a great feeling! Project Accomplished!
However, at the very top of the closet are the boxes of my former life. No, not some crazy dark secret sordid stripper-girl past. It's the stash of boxes that hold all my old therapy manuals, activities, due process forms, thematic units, and supplies. It unearthed a whole host of emotions for me.

Happiness. Regret. Sadness. Thankfulness. Pride. Etc.

Thankful, Prideful, and Happy that I had the opportunity to serve these students and make a positive difference in their lives and that I was privileged enough to have been educated and hold a rewarding career. Regretful and Sad because I wish I had gone on an gotten my master's degree before I had children, because I have no control over the laws being changed to prevent therapists holding a BA from practicing, and because I wonder where some of my most severe and less fortunate students have ended up.  I was a therapist for middle and high school students. Most of them have graduated and moved on. Some of them, I wish I could have followed forever. I wish I could be there for them everyday like I was when they were in school, the constant in their lives.

I had true flashbacks with each activity and therapy treatment plan I rediscovered. I could hear the laughter, re-sense their frustrations, and I relived their excitement upon success. I remembered the prompts I'd give them and their answers, sometimes off the wall. Administering therapy was MY therapy as well. It made me proud to see a student reach or exceed his/her goals. It made me happy to know that out of all the adults in their lives, I was the one they looked forward to seeing the most. I had fun. They made my day and I made theirs.

I am truly thankful for that God moment. It is amazing how He speaks to us through the junk in our closets and memories sometimes. I have been struggling with whether or not to go back to school to pursue my masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology. I worry about the time commitment away from my family. I worry about the stress of it all and mostly I worry about the money. I wish I had a fairy Godmother to wave her wand and make a check appear. I wish I had an abundance of support to help me take care of my little peeps while I take on this load. I could sit here all day and list all the circumstances that "I wish" were different, but it's not going to get me any closer to my goal...going back to get my masters and getting back into the classroom. If I wait for the right circumstances it'll never happen!

So tonight, I sat down at the computer and researched my options; MCD distance ed 3 yr program at USC, MSP full-time 2 yr program at USC, and the program at SCSU which I ruled out b/c of the 1 hr drive to class at night (no, thanks). I am now seriously investigating the MCD program at USC.
I'll have to take the GRE...UUUUUUUHHHHHHHGGGGGG!!!! I detest TESTS! But I can do it!

Any who...I need some prayers and encouragement, folks, as I make this decision on whether or not to go for it.

Well, I didn't expect it, but my thoughts got cleaned out and so did the closet!

Practical Tip- Think about a time when you were most fulfilled. Are you there now? If not, give it to God! He'll help you figure out how to get back there. It may not seen to be the "right time", but what IS the "right time". We're on His time any way. So does our time really matter? Huh-uh!

Practically Put-  If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done!

-Ecclesiastes 11:4

Practically Yours,

Monday, August 09, 2010

Day 9

Agenda Shopping
I have been shopping for several weeks for a new agenda/planner. My current planner is about to run out and I am looking for the one that best suits my lifestyle and is the most PRACTICAL. An agenda is an essential in every family! I use it to organize my days, weeks, and months for all my peeps. It keeps us from forgetting important bits of info and scheduled events. So I am in need of one that can accommodate all 5 of us and our scrambly schedules! I am personally familiar with a few of them and I have been pleased with their functionality, but I also wanted to weigh my other options. After conducting my own search, I've narrowed it back down to the 3 I'm most familiar with.
  • Mom's Plan-it
    • Pros- Size, Storage Pocket, Tear-off Shopping lists, Cost, 17 month calendar, Spiral bound (great for folding pages back)
    • Cons- No Month at a glance, Wasted stickers I don't use, non-transferable address book
  • MomAgenda
    • Pros- Size, Nicely bound w/page marker, Aesthetics, Reusable address book, Week and Month at a glance, Designated areas for each child
    • Cons- 13 month calendar, Cost
  • Pocket the Date
    • Pros- Great pocket storage for each month, Spiral bound, Cost
    • Cons- Size, 12 month calendar, No week view
PLEASE!!! If any of you have opinions of which planner works best for you and your family, I'd love to hear it!!! Help a sista out and comment below.

Practically Put- Every family needs to have someone to write down the rules, schedules, and important info. And we all need a handy place to store it, such as an agenda. If you don't already have one, go on the hunt for your family's perfect organizer. It will keep you sane and your family on top of its game!

Practically Put- Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. -Joshua 1:8

Practically Yours,

Sunday, August 08, 2010


I think it's safe to say that I love a good list!!! That's exactly what we did today, made lists...To Do Lists, Lists of Chores, Lists of Rules, etc. School will be back in a week from tomorrow and we will be back on rigid schedules. No more sleeping until 9:00, lounging on the sofa in PJ's for most of the morning, no PB&J lunch dates at the kiddie table in the playroom, no more late movie nights with popcorn and skittles...uuuuuuhhhhggg! The first two weeks I know will be absolute agony, but we'll get through it. And as usual, we will see that schedules and structure are good and that I really do like them.

MM1 will be going into 2nd grade (YIKES!) and MM2 will be going into all-day 4k (Double YIKES!!!). MM3 will only be doing mothers morning out 2 days, so I can handle that (Sigh of relief). In preparation for BACK TO SCHOOL we pulled out paper and pencils to make our lists. These are OUR lists but maybe it will help you make yours or even jog your memory for your own list(s).

List 1
Back to school to do
Start Back to School bedtime schedule (8/8)
Practice using the alarm clock with MM2
Finish shopping for school supplies
Get MM 1 & 2 new athletic shoes
MM 1, 2, & 3 Haircuts
Finish sorting/separating play clothes and school clothes
Make 2 Bag Tags each for MM 1, 2, & 3 (for lunch & book bags)
Monogram MM2 book bag
Monogram MM2 nap towel
Label school supplies
Go out for a special Back to School dinner (sushi/hibachi)
Attend Back to School Rally- purchase spirit wear

List 2
Daily Gimme 5's (to be posted on the fridge near "the hub")
Gimme 5 AM
  1. Wake-up 6:15
  2. Eat Breakfast
  3. Potty, Teeth, Get Dressed to shoes
  4. Make Bed
  5. Wait by the door
Gimme 5 PM
  1. Snack and Free Time
  2. Homework/Read 4:30
  3. Pick-up/Wash-up before dinner
  4. Bath, Teeth, Potty, PJ's
  5. Lights out 8/8:30
In addition to my regular to-do lists (grocery, chore chart, weekly/daily to-do, etc.), I tried to organize our week-before-school-starts to-do's and routines. I am looking forward to a wonderful year, as we are all very excited about the boys' teacher situations! Each new school year brings another opportunity for us to give thanks that we have smart and healthy little boys.  MM1 & 2 sat down with the Yard Man and me today and made up our Gimme 5's for this school year. I think it may help things run more smoothly, especially in the morning (GAG).Setting rules and making checklists for children gives them appropriate guidelines for behavior and holds them accountable for their choices. I am NO expert, I but am learning as I go.

So ----- Here's to a fantastic week to you all and hopes that we can all get it ALL done and kick off the new school year right! And...if you'd like a copy of our Gimme 5's, just comment below and I'll send it to you!
Gimme 5 Chart/Checklist

Practical Tip- Sit down with you littles and get them to help you create their rules and checklists. It's a good way to learn what's important to them and what they view as being helpful.

Practically Put- These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. -Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Practically Yours,

Friday, August 06, 2010


This week while wallowing in sinus infection and stomach bug grossness, I didn't feel much like physically organizing anything. I took a few days off from projects and cleaning to pretend to rest and take care of myself and to care for a vomitous his heart! He kindly shared his sinus infection with me, but thankfully for the rest of us, he kept his stomach virus to himself. So as I was being as inactive as possible, I decide it was a good time to get spiritually organized.

As busy moms, we often don't have that 30 minutes of spiritual alone time that so many professionals recommend. Frequently, I find myself spending my personal time with the Lord in the shower, car, and just as I am drifting off to sleep. I even fall asleep in the middle of my nightly prayers!!! Does God really have a clue what I'm trying to say???? "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the blessings of this day and for... ZzZzZzZzZ... and I pray that you will help me... ZzZzZzZzZ..." Yes, he actually does know the desires of my heart because of my 30 second snippets throughout the day and bedtime prayers with my boys and I think he appreciates my intentions. However, I am attempting to rework my "spiritual style" so that I can take full advantage of my personal time with the Lord. Along with my 30 second snippets, I would also like to incorporate AT LEAST 15-20 minutes each night to reflect and talk to God. I read my devotionals, sometimes with the Yard Man and sometimes alone. I try to remember all the prayer requests I've received throughout the day/week and I try to give thanks and talk to Him about my heart's desires. Sometimes I am just so tired and I can't seem to squeeze it all in. I know "God hears amen where ever we are" but I'd like to devote a little more time and energy to Him and not always give Him my left-overs! I'm not that person who is going to get up 30 minutes earlier each day...NOPE I am not. So this is my PLAN!!!

  • Carry my pocket Prayer Journal in my pocketbook for handy note taking and jotting down prayer requests, sermon notes, bible study notes, etc.

  • Head to bed 5-10 minutes earlier each night

  • Begin nightly devotions with prayer and thanksgiving FIRST, so as to not fall asleep before I'm finished talking to God

  • Spend 20 minutes doing our couples devotional, personal devotional, or bible study

  • Keep all devotional materials handy in my newly organized DEVO-BIN on my bedside table!
Which brings me to the DEVO-BIN. One of my books suggests a basket in which to store all your spiritual references. Thankfully, this chapter spoke loud and clear to me, as all my books, notes, pens and highlighters regularly stay in a jumbled mess on my bedside table. I didn't have a basket, nor would a basket fit on my bedside table, so I used this smaller metal bin I had on hand. It worked perfectly!

My DEVO-BIN includes some of my favorite and most frequently used spiritual guides

  • My Bible

  • Moments Together for Couples by Barbara and Dennis Rainey

  • The Yard Man's copy of The Power of a Praying Husband By Stormie and Michael Omartian (Lord knows I need all I can get!)

  • The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian (I did this one in a Bible study when MM1 was a baby and still refer to it, love, love it!)

  • Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (Given to me by a dear friend who frequently offers great spiritual insight on her blog.)

  • Where to Find It in the Bible: A to Z resource guide

  • My Prayer Journal (which will travel with me but have a "home" in the DEVO-BIN)...pictoral details below

  • Pens, Pencils, and Highlighters

  • Special keepsake prayer cards issued at our women's retreat
Any who...I am very pleased with how functional and PRACTICAL it turned out. I love my DEVO-BIN!!!!

So...on to the Prayer Journal! This particular org book also suggested a small spiral notebook with dividers to serve as a Prayer Journal. I found mine at the dollar store and it worked perfectly. The author has hers laid out differently but thinks the reader should personalize hers according to her lifestyle and needs.

Prayer Journal
4 subject spiral pocket notebook
Tab #1- Desires of the Heart- this is an area for me to jot down my personal requests for God; my ambitions, goals, requests for forgiveness and worries
Tab #2- Sermon/Bible Study Notes- for the obvious
Tab #3- Prayer Requests- I finally have a designated place to write down all the prayer requests I receive from email, facebook, bible study, church, friends and family. I always feel so bad when I realize the next day that I left someone out! Hopefully, that won't happen anymore!
Tab #4- Notes- this section is to record thougts and feelings about answered prayers and waiting on the unanswered prayers
Note Cards clipped to the back cover for writing notes offering words of encouragement to others and those on the prayer request list.

Practical Tip- Just as God allows us to come as we are and fills us with purpose, go find that unused basket or bin, dust it off and wipe it out and make your own DEVO-BIN. Set the stage for regular well-deserved moments with our Lord and Savior!

Practically Put- But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:33

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:13

Practically Yours,

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Eating My Words.

What's the saying? "Do as I say. Not as I do."
OK. Well, do that.
I ran out of gas in my driveway yesterday.
So much for being prepared and well-planned.
But I'm learning as I go.

Practical Tip- Watch your gas gauge!

Practically Put- Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
-Romans 1:22

Practically Yours,

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Practically Put

Hey y'all!!! While trying to get caught up on our personal blog, I've decided to create a NEW blog!!! Practically Put is a blog based on my attempt to get organized. I'd love for you to follow me and/or visit frequently. I also LOOOOOOOOVE comments (appropriate ones, of course) so please leave them at the end of the post!
Anywho...check what's bakin'? for baker family updates and Practically Put to follow my organizational progress.