Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Saturdays in Athens.

We are UGA season ticket holders and so in the fall we find ourselves among the hedges of Sanford Stadium with 92,000 other people cheering on the Dawgs.  I have always in enjoyed college football but I've really come to relish our Saturdays in Athens because it means quality time with Andy. Eventually, we plan to add on to the number of seats we have but at the moment we just have two. The Dawgs are off to a great start this season and are sitting at 4-0 heading in to the bulk of their conference schedule. Anyways, here is what we did this past Saturday...after dinner at the Varsity we headed to the intramural fields to park. From there we took the bus to Sanford. We were early enough that we wondered down to the field and walked along the hedges. Andy wanted to go see the mausoleum that is tucked in to a corner of the stadium. When the current Uga dies he is laid to rest here: 

We picked up some pom-poms for the game and to give to the kids when we got home. They have them out for the fans to grab on the hedges before the game. We then wondered up towards our seats. We picked up some surprises for the kids. (Foam Bulldawg Paw and eyeblack with super Gs for AG. A bulldawg purse for Avi-Kate. Then we made our way up to our seats to get ready for the game. Our seats are high but we actually really like them because they offer a perfect view. We can see everything on the field from our seats plus we have a perfect view of the scoreboard and the bridge next to the stadium. Ready for the game:

The team was pumped up and ready to dominate. And dominate they did...48-3!

We got a laugh out of this sign that made it's rounds in the student sections...it said 'Free Rambo'. Bacarri Rambo plays defense and has been serving a 4-game suspension. He should be back this next week and the defense will look even better.  
The Redcoats did a Foo Fighters medley this week for half time. 
We left towards the end of the fourth quarter because Andy wanted to catch the end of the Clemson/FSU game on XM as we were driving since it was close till right at the end. It was a great night, the stadium was packed, and the Dawgs played really well. We are very optimistic about the rest of the season. Whatever happens we love spending our Saturdays in Athens. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Whew! Off and running...

It's that time of the year where things tend to just speed up and fly by. Anyone else relate to this? Anyways, it's going to be a busy week around here and here's a bit of what is currently on my to do list:

-Change out kids wardrobes for the coming season...I tend to buy things ahead and when they are on clearance when I can. For example all of the kids fleece footed pjs for this fall/winter I bought in February when they were $3 a pair at the Carter's Outlet. Much better than paying $20 a pair for Avi-Kate and $25 a pair for AG now that he wears a big kid size. Last week Old Navy was running a great sale online so I went ahead and bought some clothes to round out their wardrobes. Avi-Kate didn't need much but AG needed a ton since he's now in school and hit a growth spurt since last winter.

-Find/Order kids winter jackets...I'm on the hunt and hoping I can find a good deal/sale. We'll see what I come up with.

-Start Christmas Shopping...slowly making a list and figuring out what to get the kids. We tend to keep it simple for Christmas and this year we are surprising them with a Christmas trip to Disney before Christmas so that will be factored in to what we spend. I've got a running list in my head for other people on my list I really need to take the time to jot it down.

-Need to get flowers out and in pots for Mtn. Day which is in less than two weeks!

-Need to finish fall craft projects. Wreath for the door and pumpkin luminaries for the kids.

-House ready for family dinner tomorrow night and then geared up for Mtn. Day weekend.

-Start working on packing lists for Disney and buying last minute items. I have pretty much everything we need to take with us minus a few things I'll buy today when I go to the grocery store. All that is left is to start packing! I also need to order the raincover for the new jogging stroller but it'll come via Amazon and will arrive in two days so I can order at any point in the next two weeks and be ok.

-Order and assemble Samson's new bed...should be arriving today! Poor dog has been missing his bed...after 6 years it was time to send his old bed on it's way. We ordered a new one this time from L.L. Bean and hope Samson wears it out the way he did his last bed. The dimensions of this bed are larger than his previous bed so I'm not sure yet if it'll stay in our room or move somewhere else. We'll see.

-Finish reorganizing in our bedroom before Mtn. Day weekend. I'm tired of this hanging over my head...I need to just get it done. My issue has been that Andy has been working remote a lot lately...which I don't mind at all BUT it's hard to get things situated when our room becomes his office when he works remote.

-Get October activities/learning plans together...I need to figure out when we are going to a pumpkin patch and some other fun activities for the kids. AG is really excited about the holidays this year. Today when we arrived at the store after school he was so excited to see a fall display outside and he told me we needed to go inside to check out if they had anything inside too. :)

There is a smattering of what is running around in my head. It's been a wild and wooly day so far. I feel really scattered today and heading in to this week. Oh, well. Best get my act together because there is a whole lot of stuff that has to happen in the next two weeks.

Friday, September 21, 2012

This Moment.

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How we stay sane and slightly organized these days...

I mentioned the other day that I had been reading a blog of a mom in Massachusetts for several years now. One of the things that Dawn does to help stay organized is she has created a system using weekly file folders. She calls it her 'File Crate System' and it's a weekly tool to help you stay on top of all the coming/going and the endless paper trail that tends to follow each of us around. This is actually the 3rd year that I have used this system but the first time I've posted about it. The last two years my use of it was spotty due to being pregnant and then having a newborn. However, this year I can't live without it especially since AG is is school five days a week. It has made our transition in to this new chapter of our lives much easier. So, what is it? How do I use it? Why has it made my life easier? 

First, I started with a batch of 52 file folders. (One for every week of the year.) They each get dated and run August-July. I also run my weeks Monday-Sunday. This is a matter of preference you really could do it how ever you wanted to do it. The teacher in me loves starting something new in August because of it being a new year...likewise, I also think of my weeks in terms of the week and the weekend. I like starting fresh on Mondays.
File folders all ready to go. 

On top of my file folder is a sheet that I created using a template at Money Saving Mom. You can tailor it to your preferences. While it's not exactly what I want long term it fits the bill right now. Eventually, I'll restructure it and create my own template...when I have time to really brainstorm/work on it. I also, wanted to test run this sheet first to see if I even liked it before I spent time creating something I may/may not use. I opted to laminate it to make it more durable. (Good decision it survived Avi-Kate throwing the last of her dinner the other night.)

Dawn buys a fresh set of folders each year, however, this is the third year I've used mine. I spent a little more and bought a more durable folder. It is a thicker paper and coated to make it really sturdy. I use post-it reposition-able tabs to re-label them. I looked for some new folders this summer just to change it up but I didn't find any I liked better and mine are still in perfect condition so I am using them again. 

When you open it on the left side you find my week-at-a-glance calendar. I found this template at Target in the office section. Last year I used a different one and it was just ok. Again, I was going to design my own but before I could I found this one. I LOVE this calendar. Behind it is my monthly/annual cleaning checklist that I personalized at Money Saving Mom. (I just started using it this month. I realize not everything will always get done but it's nice to have a place to keep track of things.) Earlier this week I realized I should have 'Wipe Down Kitchen Cabinets' in the monthly section. When I re-create my own it will be added and in case anyone is wondering I did wipe down my cabinets for this month. :)

Next on the right side you find my Notes and Bits page. Just a simple piece of notebook paper that I put sticky notes on. I am always writing things on sticky notes so if I jot something down I can add it later to my folder. Also, if I need to pull it out and post it somewhere as a reminder I can. Sometimes I'll even jot down memorable quotes from AG. It's just a simple catch-all paper. 

Behind my Notes page is AG's school calendar for September. Each week it gets moved to the next folder so that I have it if I need it. I also have a coupon attached to it that we earned from ordering books from Scholastic to apply to our next order. Which made ordering books for this month a breeze because the coupon was right at my fingertips! 

And then behind that goes anything and everything else that we need to save from the week. (Receipts, notes, packing slips, you name it if it needs to be saved it goes here.) All of AG's school papers get filed here once they come off his bulletin board in the play area. 

Now, the big question...how do I maintain this? On Thursday, on a good week, I'll pull out the next week's folder and start working on my calendar for the week. I'll make a post-it with possible ideas for dinner for the next week so I can start brainstorming ideas while I look at ads/coupons. However, some weeks are insane and it won't get pulled out till the weekend sometime. By Sunday I will file away AG's papers and any loose papers that haven't been filed. I will also move anything that needs to be moved to the next week's folder...my checklist, AG's school calendar, etc. The folder then goes back in to my filing cabinet which sits next to my desk. Also, I will file stuff ahead of time to use later. For example, Avi-Kate had a check-up two weeks ago and they printed me a reminder for her next check-up in December...that sheet is now filed away in the folder for that particular week. A coupon for Bath and Body Works that I received in August that was good for the month of September was filed away in the first September folder. You get the point.

My folder for the current week sits on top of my desk where I have easy access to it and can see it every single day. When we travel it gets tucked in to my travel bag so that I have it if needed. Whew! There you have it. A crash course on how we are keeping things slightly organized around here these days. I will say that I am really LOVING this system. It has been invaluable as we've transitioned in to school and all the additional papers that comes with school. At the end of the year I sift back and look over our year and it's pretty neat to see what we were up to, what we ate, random mementos, etc. I can also pull anything that I might need for the upcoming year and re-file it away. If you have questions let me know...I'd love to answer them if I can. :) 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall Learning...

Since fall is now officially upon us and it's finally starting to feel fall-ish here's a little of what we are working on. Learning at home is really important to me and the teacher in me is really enjoying creating simple activities and spaces for our kids to learn from/in. Our kids are young and as such most of what we do is self directed by what they are interested in. (In my education classes they'd describe this as Developmentally Appropriate Practice...I'm sure Evan and Lori are laughing at me as they are reading this post.) Anyways, I may not have a classroom but I still love to teach. :)

I ordered a bunch of new fall books and a fall activity for AG with his Scholastic book order. The Chicka Chicka puzzle is stashed away for Christmas. We have a pretty substantial library of childrens books due to me starting my collection all the way back in high school. My goal is to really start adding lots of seasonal books. I have a decent collection of Christmas books but that is it as far as seasonal stuff. Anyways, all that to say that I ordered lots of fun fall books to put on our shelves. I also pulled out all the fall books we had and currently have all the books on the play table in the play area of the den. I am on the hunt for a basket to make it our official 'book basket' for seasonal learning. 

We have a bulletin board hanging in the play area that I'm currently showcasing AG's work on from school. When something comes home it gets dated and added to the board. Over the weekend I'll pull everything off and file it away in my weekly file folder. (More on that in the next post. Finally!) I've toyed with adding a board to put seasonal stuff, projects we do here, Avi-Kate's artwork on, etc. I just haven't gotten that far, yet. 

Since the first day of fall is this weekend we are making fall cookies this week together. I need to make the dough so it can chill in the fridge before we roll it out. Then we'll bake and ice them to take to the farm this weekend. We are also looking to go to the pumpkin patch in the coming weeks I just need to decide where. In another week or so we'll head to pick up fall flowers for the flower pots. (I've been delaying this because I want the mums to be in full bloom for Mtn. Day Weekend.) AG really likes helping plant flowers and wearing his gardening gloves that Nanny bought for him. There you have it...a little bit of what we have been up to and have on tap for the weeks ahead. I'm already mulling fun plans themed for Thanksgiving/Christmas. Crazy, I know. (sigh) The holidays will be here before we know it. 

Words for Wednesday...All About AG Edition.

AG was Child of the Week last week and we had to make a poster for him to share with his classmates. I asked AG all the questions and wrote down all of his answers accordingly. He was over the moon to share his 'homework' with everyone the next day. AG is loving school these days. We are only paying for him to go half day at the moment (since I stay at home it seems silly in my mind to pay for a full day!) but he'd probably be okay if we'd let him stay for a full day. And I'm already mulling the possibility of giving him the option of full day preschool next year. We'll see how things continue before we make that call. Every day when I pick him up he tells me he doesn't want to leave. It's a sweet reminder that he's where he needs to be. That he's growing up and learning how to be independent. We've always said that our goal is to raise adults not children because one day they will leave the nest and have to spread their wings. Our hope and prayer is that when that day comes we've given them all the tools in the world to be successful and make a name for themselves. And so taking small steps of independence, like going to preschool, takes us a little closer to our goal in the end. Here are a few pictures of him with his poster...forgive his wild mane...he's since gotten it cut. :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

She may be ugly...

but Oh. My. Goodness. her blooms are gorgeous! Two years ago my sweet mother-in-law handed me a plant and told me, "this is the ugliest plant you'll ever have but if you can get it to bloom it'll be gorgeous." She was right. It bloomed last September but I missed it because the bloom was hidden and I snapped a picture of it the morning after. Same thing happened earlier this summer. Well, a few weeks back it started putting out not one bloom but seven blooms. So, I began to inspect it daily because I didn't want to miss the spectacle. Sure enough a week and a half ago it bloomed. My mother-in-law told me to check it out around 10pm...that night we had college girls over and at 11pm I remembered to check the plant. So, they went with me and this is what we discovered:

Aren't they beautiful?! I couldn't get over how big they were. And the sight of having so many all at once was really pretty. Again, I was just amazed. So, she may be ugly but she has gorgeous flowers! If you want to read more about Night Blooming Plants click here. Anyone else have a really ugly plant?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The tradition continues...

...AG has started playing soccer. I'm not sure who is more excited about this new chapter in our lives...AG or Andy. :) Andy started playing soccer when he was about AG's age and played till college. Since then he's gone on to play in adult leagues and coach on the club level here in town. The last few years he's been too busy to coach and he said he would get back in to it when the kids started playing. Well, a few weeks back he signed AG up for a weekly skills practice. It's just a basic way to begin introducing soccer to kids. He practices once a week and he doesn't play any games. Andy is enjoying being able to help with AG's 'practices' each week and is looking forward to coaching AG the way his dad did when he was little. I believe this spring he'll be on a team and they'll have games...till then AG is having a blast running around with lots of kids his age playing games. Here are some pictures from the last two weeks. The blue and yellow jersey AG is wearing in the first few pictures is actually Andy's jersey from his first soccer team. AG was so excited to wear it to soccer practice. Here's to a new chapter and growing up just a little bit more.