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A Little Something

January 20, 2014 in Uncategorized by nmikkelson

Totally thought that I would be able to blog sooner than this, but didn’t happen. Working full-time from home is a bit more consuming than I original thought. There have been some days when I have not brushed my teeth or my hair and have taken and picked up my kids at school- hot mess is the best description.

I have fallen behind on my housework and laundry and apparently my personal hygiene, but I am grateful for my job. I do love that I am home all day with my dogs and the kids are here after school- no daycare-which makes me happy.

In the midst of the disgustingness that is my house, I did pick up some super cute new additions that make me swoon every time I walk by.

First of all, I have been wanting something to hang over our shoe cabinet. We had a black and white picture that was a rectangular shape above it, but I was not feeling it. I had been eyeing this mirror for a while and when Eric got me a gift card for Christmas, it was time. I love it. Like love it, love it.

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The tin on the left holds my Scentsy bars and the grass in the middle is our phone charging area.

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mirrorIsn’t it pretty? It makes the whole area better!

The other purchase was a less thought out purchase (Dave Ramsey is shaking his head at me right now). I am still not digging my dining room. I know it needs a rug and drapes, but those are out of my budget (now Dave is smiling). Instead, I saw this cabinet at Target and I swear to you, music starting playing in the background and I was gracefully leaping with my arms open in slow motion towards this cabinet. True story.

Here it is:

cabinetI don’t love the decor on the top-it’s still a work in progress, but the cabinet is awesome sauce. It holds all of my special glasses and as well as our wedding beer steins.

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cabinetbThe bottom holds my Christmas plates and my Margarita glasses.

cabinetdIt’s a little small for the wall, but I couldn’t buy two and justify it (yet:).

Check back this week….I WILL post again:)

Thanks for reading,

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Happy New Year {2014}

January 3, 2014 in Christmas by nmikkelson

Happy New Year! Wow…I can’t believe how long it has been since I have blogged! I am sure that my only readers left are my grandmas and mom, but that’s okay, I will take it.

I have good reason for my absence. To say life has been crazy would definitely be a ginormous understatement. Have you ever prayed for something that would be life changing and have that prayer answered? And when that answered prayer actualizes, did you immediately think- “Uh-oh– what did I do?” Well my friends, that is what has happened to me.  I had been praying for a teaching job with the Arizona Virtual Academy, but they never had an openings. I knew it would be a perfect job or me….I would be teaching (actually using my degree- novel idea) and I would be doing it from home. As luck would have it (or maybe the perfect timing of God), the week before Thanksgiving, I got a call, out of the blue, asking if I would be interested in a middle school position. Without hesitiation and with a tad too much enthusiasm, I said yes.  What followed was a tech test, another proficiency test and of course Thanksgiving. I started December 9th and am loving it. I am overwhelmed, but I know it will get better. I am learning to balance working from home and being a mom and wife. Let me tell ya- not easy, but totally worth it. I am grateful for this answered prayer…I know it will be great for our family.

The kids were totally excited to see Santa this year. They brought him snowmen that they made. 

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Christmas came and went in the blink of an eye. This year felt very rushed to me. I know my working was a big part of the problem and I didn’t get to do all the traditions that we usually do, which totally bummed me out. Once again I didn’t take enough pictures- is this hard for anyone else?  But, all in all, we had a very nice Christmas. We missed my Granddaddy tremendously- there was definitely a void.

The big kids spent the night on Christmas Eve with us which has not happened in a few years. The littles were super excited! Delaney thought it was so cool that she and Kaylie were going to share a room on Christmas Eve. Kaylie was a huge help. Delaney wanted a Barbie Dream House, but by the time we got around to buying one- the new model was sold out- everywhere! After freaking out a bit, I checked out Amazon and found a somewhat similar  Dream House, complete with an elevator (which was the main attraction for Delaney) and it was less expensive. SCORE! Even better, it was Prime-which meant two day, free shipping baby. Anyway, Christmas Eve always means a long night of putting things together for Eric- this year, Kaylie was all into helping. She and Eric worked together and got the house put together in a bout an hour. She was a such a big help!

Kid table at Nana and Granddaddy’s….

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Each year an elf stops by while we are at church and brings the kids Christmas jammies and some kind of stuffed toy. They love it!

My kiddos with my nephew, Griffin, in their jammies. Adorbs!

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Christmas morning started at 7:45 with Delaney in my face with a smile from ear to ear. As we walked into the living room, the kid’s excitement was contagious.I was super excited for them to open their gifts! They were full speed ahead ready for go time. The presents were unwrapped very quickly and the “will you open this?” became the most annoying phrase in the world just as fast. After we cleaned up a little it was time for 7 of us to get dressed and out the door and to my mother-in-law’s house by 11:00 for brunch. Not an easy task my friends. But alas, we did it. We ate, had mimosas, Brody got stuck in a tree, Delaney fell out of a tree, I had another mimosa, we laughed and ate way too much. The big kids had to go to their moms after the brunch and we went back home to make some sense of the Christmas aftermath. My parents and Mimi came over to our house for round two. The kids were excited to show off their new toys and were even more excited when they opened their brand new iPad minis. They are lucky kids that’s for sure. The evening capped off at my parent’s house for dinner. Short, sweet and to the point. And I didn’t have to do dishes:)

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The calm before the storm….

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Pictures of Christmas Day? Yeah I don’t have any. Ugh! One of my many, many, many goals this year is to be better about taking pictures. And video. I don’t ever take video. Lots of other things have been happening and I will fill you in. But for now, I want to say Happy New Year and stay tuned….

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Pumpkin Cookies

November 18, 2013 in recipes, thanksgiving by nmikkelson

pumpkin cookies

Oh yeah….it’s time. Growing up, we knew Thanksgiving was right around the corner when we could smell the most delicious scent of pumpkin and sugar coming from the kitchen. These cookies are amazing. I mean amazing. It became a staple in our house…as we added members of the family, they grew to love and expect these cookies. This year, they had a little different meaning. You see, my Granddaddy adored these cookies. My mom would make a tin just for him….my Mimi and Granddaddy would come to visit and the cookies were waiting. We’d all sit around and eat cookies. Good times. I have never attempted to make these cookies, not really sure why, but this year, I decided to give it a go. Brody asked if he could bring some cookies to his teachers, so a baking I went.

I am proud to say that I conquered the cookies, the kids are happy and I know Granddaddy is proud!

So here ya go….THE recipe.

Cookies

Ingredients:

*1 cup pumpkin (I use the pumpkin in the can- easy peasy)

*1 cup sugar

*1/2 cup butter

*1 tbsp grated orange peel

*2 cups flour

*1 tsp. baking powder

*1 tsp. baking soda

*1 tsp. cinnamon

*1/4 tsp. salt

Set oven to 375*.

Mix together pumpkin, sugar, butter and orange peel.

In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until well blended.

Plop some dough on a cookie sheet or baking stone and put in the oven for 8-10 min. (I used a baking stone and my oven sucks, so it took about 13 minutes for mine)

Now for the icing….

Ingredients:

*1/4 c. butter

*2 cups powdered sugar

*1 tsp. vanilla extract

*some tablespoons of milk….

The icing is not the easiest, but don’t give up….

Melt butter in a sauce pan, add the powdered sugar and vanilla… add some milk. Now stir and stir and stir. It will still be pretty runny, so keep adding powdered sugar until it gets to the consistency you want. My mom said you don’t want it too runny, but you want to be able to drizzle it on the cookies. If there are lots of lumps, use a spoon to smoosh it against the sides of the pan to get rid of them. When it gets to where you want it, just drizzle it on the cookies- messy is a-ok. You will want to keep stirring the icing because it hardens quick:)

I hope you enjoy these as much as my family does:)

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Backwards Perfectionism (Say what?)

November 15, 2013 in mom, ramblings by nmikkelson

Well, I suck. I really thought that I could do the NaBloPoMo this year, but really I blew it last Friday when I plain forgot to post. And then Saturday we had an unexpected date night to a football game… so yeah, I blew it. Life has been quite crazy. It is hard to not feel overwhelmed on a daily basis. Do you feel like this? If not, don’t tell me, lol.

Everything from laundry to being a mom has me stressed and overwhelmed. Anyone out there feel this way? If not, don’t tell me, lol. I am super frustrated- mostly with myself. I have this problem… I am perfectionist….but not in the way you think. Let me explain.

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You all know I have a raging case of CGS (Clark Griswold Syndrome). This time of year it really rages. The holidays really bring it out in me. I imagine the most amazing dinners, parties, holidays, etc. Everyone is having a wonderful time. the food is amazing, the decor, the theme– it’s da bomb– it’s okay for me to say that, I’m an 80s kids. Obviously, things don’t usually go the way I had planned and I get all bummed.

The perfectionist in me wants everything to be perfect. Most people, Eric included, think that’s awesome. That I will do whatever it takes for it to be exactly how I envisioned it. But sadly, I think I have backward perfectionism. Don’t look it up- it’s not in the dictionary yet. I am sure they are working on it as we speak. I am waiting for Webster’s to call me so that they can take my picture to use for the definition.

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Here’s an example. My blog. I love blogging. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a blast and I love “meeting” new friends. When I sit back and envision what I want my blog to be like, I envision thousands of followers, amazing content and moms around the world sharing with me stories of how their life stories are similar and how my blog makes them feel a little less crazy and a little more normal. Obviously my blog is nowhere near that. Not even a little. Here’s where the backward perfectionism comes in… because it’s not like that, I just stop doing it. If it can’t be perfect, I quit. I know, nuts right? I have no reasonable explanation.

Another example. My kids. Man…nothing can pop a perfectionist’s perfectly round bubble faster than having kids. Before kids, I imagined how they will behave, how they will be socially, how school will go (we all know how that went) etc. My kids are polite- so a certain degree. Could they be better? You betcha. Do I stop them in the middle of a situation and use this “teachable moment” to show them the proper way to do it? No. I imagine what could be done, but most of the time we are in a hurry, again, and I was already annoyed with something, now this new issue has annoyed me and then I think they won’t do it anyway and we leave. Stupid right?

One more…my house. Man, you should really be in my head and see how amazeballs (thanks for the perfect word Erin) my house is. It’s organized, clean, decorated fabulously and doesn’t smell like kids or dogs or the un-showered mom;) Totally not my reality. Now, if money was not an issue (hahahaha) this house would be crazy organized. The Container Store would yell my name like Norm from cheers as I walked in. Sadly, that is not the case. And I could clean- especially after the kids are in bed and Eric is “watching TV” aka sleeping on the couch, but I know it would not turn out the way I wanted so I just sit and zone out and do nothing.

I realize that this way of thinking is completely counterproductive and is adding the my stress and anxiety, but for some reason I can’t shake it. It’s the way my twisted mind works, just keeping it real. Trust me when I say I’m working on it, but the final result seems unattainable (ugh, see, problem) SO for now, I love this quote……

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Thankful Thursday: Husband Edition

November 7, 2013 in NaBloPoM13 by nmikkelson

I was thinking about what I should write about and then suddenly it occurred to me that it’s November. Yeah, I’m quick like that. Obviously Novemenber is THE month to remember all that we are thankful for and yada yada yada. Thus, (I always love a good thus) Thankful Thursday was conceived….not to be confused with Thirsty Thursday, which are nice too.

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Today I am just super thankful for my husband, Eric. He is the cat’s meow. He is the chocolate to my milk. I really lucked out in the husband department. The cool thing about Eric is that he is willing to jump in without even being asked (for the most part). When I have a Juice Plus thing or I am going out with the girls, it’s not even a question….he just stays home with the kids. He’s not “watching the kids”– they are his, it’s not babysitting when he’s the dad. Anyway, he feeds them, gives them baths, puts them to bed…. I don’t ever worry. It should be that way.

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As for me, he puts up with all my bologna. He knows how to calm me down when I get a tad over-dramatic. We totally balance each other out. We have fun–like lots of fun. Going dancing with Eric is a blast. We swing dance, two step, and boogie (I don’t know how to say that we dance like morons without sounding mean). Yep, we are cool like that.

See what I mean…jamming to “Hot For Teacher”

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Eric works so incredibly hard. He has 4 kids to support and works his butt off to do it. I hope that the big kids look and see what is means to work hard and make an honest living. He should be their example. Working hard…not expecting everything to be handed to you. That is definitely something that I will make sure the little kids NEVER take for granted.

He helps me with the cooking and a lot of times will help me by doing the dishes. Eric supports me in all that I do. Last year when Brandy the dog walked into our lives, he knew better than to think we would give her away. He loves dogs just as much as I do– it’s just I seem to find them more often :/

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I love him so much. If you have ever seen the show Friends (which I am vaguely obsessed familiar with) then you probably remember the one where Ross and Rachel got together. Phoebe kept saying that lobsters mate for life…. well we are that corny and call each other our lobster. He’s totally my lobster and I am SO thankful for him.

To quote Rascal Flatts…. “God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you”

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What are you thankful for? Head over to Facebook and tell me:)

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What’s Working Wednesday?

November 6, 2013 in NaBloPoM13, organizing, What's Working by nmikkelson

I think I’ve said it before, but if not, then I will now. I am in a funk. I am in funk with my food, with my house, with my exercising, with practically everything. Well, I’m sick of this funk and am working hard on getting out of it. Because I am a list maker I wrote down all the things that ARE working and those that ARE NOT working. I think if I work on ‘the list’ and get to cross things off, my funk with be de-funked. Do you follow?

So I will start today with a positive.Something that is working. My command center is totally working for us. I absolutely adore it and it keeps me sane. I originally posted it on my friend, Courtney’s blog and I am sure a lot of you popped over there to show her some love, but in case you missed it….I am posting it here….
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I really felt like I needed a place to have our calendar, our reminders, our family binder and supplies to write notes or mail letters, all in one place. Plus, we go to the library every week or so and keeping track of the public library books, the school library books and our books was becoming a daunting task. So that’s where the command center comes in. Eric finds it hilarious that I call it that, but it is seriously the hub of our house! Besides my planner, everything is written or stored in this area.

So let’s get this show on the road….

Here it is….I just love it so much.

Command Center 4This chalkboard was made using a frame that I purchased at Goodwill for $.99. Eric painted the frame and then painted the glass with chalkboard paint! I am in love with it because it is a great place to jot down things like what we have run out of or we use it as a “Don’t forget board”.

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The calendar is just a simple dry erase calendar that I have had forever. Yes, it is color coded- it just makes life easier. I am obsessed with it. I am constantly writing things on it and when I see Eric check it when he is on the phone with someone to see what’s going on that day, it makes him pretty sexy;) Sorry about the glare—-

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The bulletin board is something else that I have had forever. I put things like invitations, Delaney’s Book-it form (remember Book-It?? I loved getting my personal pan pizza) and her school calendar on it. It is black, but I just use Washi tape to change up the border a bit based on the season:)

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I like to write notes to the kids to put in their lunch boxes and I needed supplies nearby. I was walking back and forth to Daylen’s room/office daily and that was just too much exercise for me, so I rearranged some drawers in the kitchen and came up with this:

Command Center 8Here is a little closer look:

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I have my Sharpies that Brody is not allowed to touch, I have pencils for homework, washi tape for the note cards, paper clips, post-its, scissors, white out, a pencil sharpener and big erasers. I love this drawer!

The room in the picture below is a room that most people would put a small table, but we use the bar for that and I just thought it would cause a traffic jam if there was a table in there, so we now use it kind of like a mud room. The dresser has all the things we use for parties (post coming soon) and the baskets hanging on the wall keep my mind sane.

Command Center 1

Our binder was always just on the kitchen counter or stuffed in a bag and it drove me nuts. Now, it has a home. A home that is not in Brody’s immediate reach to ‘check out’ at his leisure, I might add. No one touches the binder. The other basket is for the public library books. I just put them in there and take one or two out at a time to read and then we put them back. It has been a life saver!

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 Here’s another view….you can sort of see the command center on the other wall

Command Center 3There ya have it! Between my binders, my planer and my command center, I keep my family organized! Thanks so much for letting me guest pot Courtney!

I would love some new friends on Facebook! Come on over!!

Do you have a command center in your house? I would love to see it!

Thanks for reading…. peace out!

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Delaney Turned 6!

November 5, 2013 in birthday, Delaney, NaBloPoM13 by nmikkelson

Our little girl turned 6 last week. I still am not sure how that happened. This year, more than any other, I can remember the weekend she was born better than ever. It really doesn’t seem like 6 years ago. Delaney has been full of personality from the get go. She is sweet, dramatic and fully intentional with everything she does. She loves school (yay), but tends to worry about what other kids are doing more than she should– she is quite the micro-manager. Delaney is hilarious! Her one liners have people in tears and her vocabulary wows them. We just love that little girl.

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1st birthday!

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Here she is when she just turned 2…

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This year, we decided not have a party. I am still trying not to feel guilty about it. This was the first year that she had school friends (besides her preschool friend, Claire) and she really wanted to invite them all to a party at our house, and then she wanted it at a park with swings and then she wanted it at Peter Piper Pizza. I know it’s awful, but all I could see was $$$$$. We decided that we would have a nice family dinner, see a movie and go to Build-A-Bear. She seemed fine with it, but I still feel like I should have had a party.

Anyway, her birthday weekend started on Friday with Eric’s parents coming over for dinner. Brody helped me decorate the house and we made a cake. The night was really low key and everyone had a nice time.

Saturday night we went to see Despicable Me 2. Totally adorable! The kids were a little scared of the purple minions, but I am pretty sure they liked it. Brody certainly enjoyed the huge amount of popcorn that he consumed.

Sunday was the big day. We went to church and Delaney’s class sang to her (which she loved) and then it was off to the Tucson Mall. My mom and I took the kids to Build-A-Bear for Delaney’s 2nd birthday and it did not go well. This time was SO much better. They did a great job! The girl that was filling the animals up was great! She was so awesome with the kids- she asked Delaney what her favorite food was and in true Delaney fashion, she said, “Ranch”. The girl loves ranch. Brody’s favorite food apparently is chicken. Who knew?

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Making her bunny fluffy:)

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Giving it a bath….delaneybday3

 

Brody’s turn…I love the hands in the pocketsdelaneybday4

 

Delaney’s bunny getting all purdydelaneybday5

 

Nothing hotter than a man helping dress a camo bear with his sondelaneybday6

 

Naming their creations….Delaney’s bunny’s name is Molly.And Brody’s bear is Brody. Clever, right?

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After Build-A-Bear we went to the Disney store and they were super nice. They gave her a birthday hat and pin and told her that Mickey said Happy Birthday. Her expression was priceless! We had a yummy lunch at Red Robin before heading home.

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For dinner we went over to my parent’s house. Danielle, Joe and Griffin came to celebrate  with us which is always fun. Watching Griffin starting to catch up to the kids is awesome. The kids, and Joe:), played outside until dinner was ready. As we were eating, I sort of space out for a minute and was re-playing her other birthdays in my head. It is amazing how fast it has gone. I realize how blessed we are. Maybe it is okay that we didn’t have a party. I am pretty sure she knows how much she is loved and that’s what is important, right? After my little space out, we let her open presents and eat some cake.

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Happy birthday little Munchie. We love your guts so much!!

Do you have a party every year? Every other year? Do you invite the whole class? I need advice here!! Input please!

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Our Yearly Picture… a little late

November 4, 2013 in traditions, yearly picture by nmikkelson

Well poop. I have strep throat. I feel pretty bad. So my post will be short. Every year I take a picture of the kids on the same day in the same place. Well, this year I spaced it. I usually take the picture on my birthday, but for some reason, I forgot. And then kept forgetting. I finally remembered on Delaney’s birthday– the only thing is, they look a little like homeless children. But, the point is a picture. So here is the progression….

 

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This year’s is a bit silly…..

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See? Told ya. Next year… I will plan it on the correct day:) But now, I am going to sit back and watch the Bears and pretend my throat is not on fire:)

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3 Things To Teach Your Kindergartener (before it starts)

November 3, 2013 in school by nmikkelson

3 thingsBefore kids, I was a kindergarten teacher. When the kids were old enough, we started doing things that I knew would be important- counting, singing ABCs, recognizing numbers, writing names, etc. Both of the kids know all the letters and letter sounds, so I was pretty confidant that kindergarten would be no big deal. Well, we all know that the transition into kinder was a bit much for all of us, but since then, I have learned a few things that I wish I had taught her (and that I will teach to Brody before he starts).

1.Make sure he/she knows how to open everything in their lunchbox by them self.

Her first couple days of school she was coming home, starving, with a pretty full lunchbox. When I asked what was going on, she said, “I can’t open them”. I felt so bad! I was packing GoGo Squeez applesauce, granola bars, fruit snacks, yogurt, etc. All things that I usually open for her. It never occurred to me. So now, she has learned how to do it all.

2. Make sure they can button/snap/zip the clothes that they are wearing.

Again, sounds obvious right? Delaney wore a pair of shorts to school and could not button them on her own so she wouldn’t go to the bathroom; she was too embarrassed to ask the teacher. So now, I make sure both Delaney and Brody’s shorts are easy to get on and off:)

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3. Make sure they can tie shoes….or get them shoes with velcro.

Truth be told, we are still working on this one. It’s tough. She says her teacher has to tie them “all day long and it’s annoying”

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BONUS:   This one may be silly, but I wish I had taught her how to swing- by herself.

She was so upset that she didn’t know how to pump and all the other kids did. She said she just sat there and tried to figure it out, but then another kid told her to get off cuz she couldn’t do it. Broke my heart. So off we went to the school one evening and bam…she got it. Made recess less stressful:)

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Kindergarten is SO much more than learning how to read and write. It’s about listening and trusting another adult, it’s about learning how to make and keep friends, it’s about responsibility. Kindergarten is a big deal and I wish I had taught these three simple things to Delaney before she started to make it a bit easier on everyone.

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Pumpkin Pickin 2013

November 2, 2013 in pumpkin patch, traditions by nmikkelson

It seems like October starts the marathon of family traditions that we have created. Okay, well, I guess that I have created. From now until New Year’s Eve…I have a tradition for everything. I am pretty positive that Eric is annoyed by all of my “we have to, it’s tradition” or “we need to be making memories”, but he doesn’t say it (yet). Every October we go to a pumpkin patch. We have been going since Delaney was one. I love going, but I wish it was cooler out when we go. I love seeing all the pictures of people in their cute sweaters, boots and jeans. We have to wear short sleeves, shorts and sunscreen. It’s so hot.

This year we decided to try out a new pumpkin patch. We had heard awesome things about it, so I made a plan and off we went. We went to the Marana Pumpkin Patch, which is about an hour away. In a effort to save some money, I packed us a little lunch so when we got to the parking lot, we had a mini picnic in the car. Dave Ramsey would be proud.

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The first thing we did was hit up the playground… I’m not quite sure why– it’s not like they have never been down a slide, but whatever. After the playground we let them conquer the hay mountain. Surprisingly, Brody, who is usually timid, flew up to the top and Delaney was the one freaking out.

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Up on the top:) He was super proud!

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After conquering the mountain…it was time to conquer the jumping pillows. I was not so sure about them, but the turned out to be super cool. And let me just say…people watching…super awesome on a jumping pillow. There are not many people who look graceful on one of those bad boys.

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Delaney got some serious air!

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After the pillows, we got some snow cones, played “keep the bees away” and then rode a cute little train around the farm. Then Brody decided it was time to try navigating through the corn maze. Unfortunately, I did not pay attention to which maze was easier than the other and we chose the more difficult one. I don’t enjoy corn mazes. Just gonna throw that out there. It took us awhile…. and Brody did not want to do it again.

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Eric and the kids checking out the map.

Once through the maze, we decided it was time to get some pumpkins. We rode on the trailer out to the pumpkin patch and searched for our perfect pumpkins. It didn’t take long, which was good, and we were all happy with our choices.

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Someone was tired.

All in all, our yearly trip to the pumpkin patch was a success. I realize that maybe my need for traditions gets a little trying sometimes, but I don’t care. I love them. I love my family and I love making new memories.

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Do you have any fall traditions? Do you go over from now until New Year’s like I do?

Now click here and join me on Facebook:)

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