Back to School!!!

We just finished our first “week” back at school, and while I am thrilled to be back in a routine, I am exhausted.

Thank God our first week back wasn’t a full week (we started back Wednesday). Waking up several hours earlier than usual and go-go-going non-stop was enough to put me in bed at 9pm the last three nights! I am super excited to be back in a routine though.

This school year is a bittersweet one. I’m calling it: “The Year of Lasts” because it’s Ty’s last year at home, Taylor’s last year of elementary school, and Jules’ last year of middle school. The Year of Lasts is going to feel a lot like the ending to a phase of life for me, but as with all endings, it will bring new beginnings. Next year, will be “The Year of Firsts:” Ty’s first year of school, Taylor’s first year of middle school, and Jules’ first year of high school (including getting his driving permit!!!). Ok, I gotta stop now. It’s just too much. I can’t even. Not yet.

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Monday night we went to the girls’ Open House at their brand new school, which was ginormous. Their old school (which I’ve been bringing my kids to for the last 8 years) was made up of 2 hallways, so it was pretty simple to navigate. The new school felt like a white walled labyrinth. I know the kids will get used to it after a while, but it was seriously overwhelming that first night.

I am super excited to see how well this year goes! All of their teachers seem nice enough, and with the rezoning of the city, they all have some old friends in their classes and lots of new friends to meet as well!

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Tuesday night, we went to Jules’ Open House. I still can’t believe my first baby is in 8th grade! I spared him the embarrassment of taking his picture with all of his teachers and just forced him to take this one picture in front of this banner that had obviously been put up for that exact purpose. There were some girls taking their picture as we came along, happily posing with their friends for their parents enjoyment. Then a mom practically pushed her son in front of it and told him to smile, which he refused to do, so she gave up and let us take a turn. Once she saw Jules take this picture for me, she said, “See?! He smiled! You can do it too!” and made him take another picture, LOL! I had to giggle because while she probably assumed Jules complied so easily, the reality was I had to threaten him to do so while he tried really hard to convince me that I didn’t need to take a single picture.

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He may be taller than me now, and nearly 14 years old, but he’ll always be my baby. I remind him of that constantly, which I think he secretly enjoys hearing. Last night, I was hugging him from behind while he played a video game on the computer, and he didn’t pull away! As I lingered, I said, “Aw, this is the longest you’ve snuggled with me in forever!” to which he replied, “You do realize I’m not actually hugging you, right?.” Whatever. We were touching. It counts.

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We spent our last day of summer swimming, relaxing, and getting ready for the first day of school. By 9pm, lunches and back packs were packed, outfits were ironed and laid out, hairs were cut (by me to save money!), baths were had, teeth were brushed, stories were read, prayers were said, and lots of hugs, kisses, and snuggles were given in bed.

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 I enjoyed a cup of hot tea on the couch next to Joe Daddy til 10pm, and then we hit the hay as well.

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I woke up at 5:30am the first day, just to make sure Jules heard his alarm clock. He was already up and ready when I got up. First-Day-of-School pictures just haven’t been the same since Jules started middle school. It’s still dark outside when he goes to the bus stop so we’re forced to take pictures inside, which just isn’t the same.

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That’s ok. I just made sure I took some pics when he got home. 🙂 I love that he let me pick out all of his school clothes and shoes this year! I bought most of his stuff without him (although I did text him to ask if he would wear it)! I only had to return 2 things he didn’t like and 2 things that didn’t fit!

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Trini is in kindergarten this year, which isn’t as big of a deal because she went to pre-k at an elementary school. It’s still exciting, but it’s not her first rodeo, so it just feels like another year of school. She wore the shirt her Godmother made for her.

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Tristyn is in 1st grade this year. It’s kinda hard to believe it’s her 3rd year in school! She also wore the shirt her Godmother made for her.

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Of course, she had to start an outbreak the day before the first day of school, but luckily, we were able to get 4 doses of her Acyclovir in her before she left so the oozing had stopped!

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Taylor is in 5th grade this year! It’s hard to believe this is her last year in elementary school! She decided not to wear the shirt her Godmother made her, only because she was more excited about some of her other new clothes (she’s worn her other shirt quite a few times already).

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I decided not only to let my kids ride the bus home, but to ride the bus to school as well. This way, I wake up at 6am with Jules to get him to the bus stop, wake the girls up when I get home, hop in the shower and get ready for the day while the girls eat their breakfast, get them to the bus stop, and have an entire hour to eat breakfast with Ty and do some chores before we leave for the gym (or grocery shopping on Wednesdays when I go to the gym in the evening)! Having them ride home in the afternoons gives me an extra hour to have dinner cooked by the time they get home! I’m saving around 30 gallons in gas a month, which is only $60, but I’m gaining so much more time at home to get stuff done! You’d think having 7 hours a day without them would be plenty of time to get stuff done, but trust me, I use it up quickly! We were all very happy to see that they have the same bus driver this year! Miss MeMe is strict, which helps me feel like my girls are (for the most part) safe. They enjoy getting to see their friends on the bus, so it’s a win-win.

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I tried waking Ty up when I woke the other girls, but she was still asleep when I got back from taking them to the bus stop.

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Poor Joe Daddy called out sick to work on the kids’ first day back to school. 🙁 He was running a fever and slept all day. I made him breakfast, but he didn’t wake up to eat it until lunch time. I did manage to wake Ty to eat breakfast with me though!

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Wednesdays are going to be my grocery shopping day since it’s the only day I have night classes at the gym, but this week I had to check Taylor out at noon for her forensic interview with the detective and a Child’s Voice, the Child Advocacy Center. If you didn’t read my last post, Taylor suffered a traumatic event at a friend’s house over the summer, which I promise I will go into detail over once I can, but for now, all I can share is she had to give her testimony on camera with a state-mandated interviewer at a center just for kids. I hated to have to check her out on her first day of 5th grade at a new school, but the teacher said it would actually be the best time to do it since they weren’t going to be on a regular schedule anyway. Taylor did amazing! I couldn’t be prouder of how well she’s handled this whole situation. I am very confident that she is healing well and hopefully won’t be too negatively affected by what she went through.

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My biggest concern in checking Taylor out was worrying about her little sisters getting home on the bus safely. They’ve rode the bus home without her before, and I knew the teachers were going to take extra care to get everyone on their bus on the first day, but I just worry, I can’t help it! Thankfully, they made it home, and at a decent time too!

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Wednesday nights we go to church, and since kids eat for $0.99 at Zaxby’s, we use it as an excuse to treat ourselves. Next week, I start my diet (cutting out as much gluten, dairy, and sugar as I possibly can), but this week I let myself have some fried food. I enjoyed a nice relaxing yoga class with Taylor in between my cleaning duties while the girls enjoyed their last week in child care (church classes start back next week), then I shut down the gym, headed home, and passed out right after I tucked the girls in, right at 9pm. No hot tea and TV on the couch with Joe Daddy. I was lucky to have enough energy to change into my jams, take out my contacts, wash my face, and brush my teeth!

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On our 2nd day at the bus stop, we met our new next door neighbors! There are a total of 6 kids at the bus stop in the morning, which makes it a little more fun. 😉

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Ty woke up in the middle of the night screaming that something was in her ear. I tried peroxide, mineral oil, and some other ear wax removal stuff before giving up and dosing her with Tylenol, which finally helped her fall back asleep after half an hour. I figured she probably had an ear infection from all the congestion she’s been having over the past week, so I skipped my Zumba class (which broke my heart!) and took her to the doctor. The doctor went to look in her ear and said there was too much wax (which is quite typical for all of my children), so she started digging it out. Clump after clump, she just kept pulling out more and more wax! Then a huge clumpy strand came out! After that, Ty was done. I have never seen so much wax come out of an ear, and I am used to seeing a lot come out of my kids’ ears! Unfortunately, the doctor couldn’t get anymore out after that, even though she said there was still a bunch in there, but she did make a way to see that her ear didn’t look infected. Because she had been so congested for so long, she gave her some antibiotics that would also get rid of an infection, if she had one that she couldn’t see. Ty was so brave while the doctor was digging out all of that wax out of her ear (at least at first), so she got a sucker, a sticker, and a couple of Starbursts. 🙂

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Since we didn’t go grocery shopping on our usual day, we went after we left the doctor. We went to Aldi then ate lunch at Burger King before we went shopping in Walmart. I did really good and kept our groceries $100 under budget! Thank goodness, since I dropped over $200 at Open House on shirts and yearbooks!

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Bleu has very sensitive skin so she’s on a gluten/grain-free and soy free diet. Her last flare-up was when we first got her 2.5 years ago. Last week, she started breaking out in hives from what I assumed was an allergic reaction to some shrimp she got a hold of. We tried giving her Benadryl, which I thought was helping because her red bumps went away. When we got home from the store, I noticed that Bleu was not only covered in scabs, but smelled awful even though we just gave her a bath a couple days before that. I called the vet and they said they could see her in an hour.

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The vet said it was indeed an allergic reaction and gave us antibiotics, steroids, and a prescription shampoo. We also got her caught up on her shots, tested for mange and mites (which they had to scrape her hair and skin away for :(), worms, and got her some more heart worm preventative, as well as flea and tick protection (that also protects against mange and mites) for the next 3 months. It was a hefty $366 vet bill, but considering everything they did for her, it wasn’t really that high (whatever makes me sleep better, right? LOL).

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So far, she’s been taking her meds like a champ. Already, she’s itching less, smelling better, and has regained some of her appetite and energy. The vet also gave us the doses of allergy meds we can give her next time she has a flare-up! I’m really hoping it was the shrimp and not the start of seasonal allergies!

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After the girls came home, we ate dinner, signed agendas, and went for a swim! Joe Daddy came home early and joined us! Tristyn and Trini wore their “new to them” swim suits. Earlier this week, my friend gifted us with a large tub full of cute clothes that fit the two of them perfectly! Thank you Shaina!

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Friday was the first day Ty actually woke up with the rest of the girls. Apparently, it’s pretty chilly in the school, so they all wore hoodies even though it wasn’t cold at all outside! LOL!

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At least they were entertaining ;).

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When Ty and I got home, I made a protein smoothie. My favorite way to make them is: 1 frozen banana, a 1 serving can of pineapple juice, 2 tbsp rice protein powder, a handful of spinach, a big scoop of plain unsweetened Greek yogurt, and a handful of frozen strawberries or blueberries. Sometimes I’ll add frozen mangoes and a quarter of a frozen avocado, but I didn’t have those on hand. Sometimes I add flax and/or chia seeds too. It’s the quickest and one of the most deliciously healthy ways to get 30 grams of protein in before the gym!

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I also filled up my jug-o-water that holds over 8 cups and took my amino acids, vitamins, and probiotics. I managed to drink my 8 cups over the course of the day, which is huge considering I haven’t been drinking but maybe half that amount over the summer (I replaced most of my water with sugary drinks like soda, lemonade, and icees). It’s hard to believe I was drinking a gallon of water a day before the summer, but I’ll get there again!

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First day back at the gym was ahhhhmazing! It felt so good to sweat and make all of my muscles burn in my “Pump It Up” class and then stretch them all out in “Chair Zen.” I have not hopped on a scale, because I am too afraid of what it’ll say don’t care what it says, but I can tell my clothes are much tighter than they were two months ago. I’m just thankful I can still squeeze into them (even if some of me is squeezing out of them, LOL)! I only got in 3 hours this week, so I’m curious to see if I can make it to all 7 hours next week. It’s hard to wanna work out when you’re exhausted and sore (and withdrawing from sugar), but I’m determined to get back to where I was!

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Ty and I stopped by Publix on the way home to take advantage of some of the deals they had this week (like BOGO fruit salad, 100% juice Capri Suns, and Dole Fruit Cups)!

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All I can think about is how this little girl will be off to school next year! I really can’t believe this is the last year I’ll have a baby at home!!! Part of me can’t wait, but she’s such a good kid that it’s more like having a best friend to hang out with all day (which I know probably sounds totally pathetic coming from a 34 year old woman). I’m determined to soak up every precious moment we have together over the next 12 months!

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Taylor’s gymnastics schedule changed this week. Not only is her class on Fridays instead of Thursdays now, but it starts 10 minutes later, and since the bus is bringing her home 20 minutes earlier, we have plenty of time to eat dinner before we have to leave (which wasn’t possible last year, meaning we had to eat dinner at 7pm on a school night). Having class on Friday also means it’s not cutting into homework time or impeding our weekday bedtime routine!

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I’m really happy with my decision not to let the little girls do any sports this season. I’m really just over the rec sports. I don’t like the late night practices and games during the week like we had in football cheerleading, the early morning games on Saturdays like we had in basketball cheerleading and soccer through Upward, and the multiple days during the week I had to not only bring them somewhere, but had to give my time coaching as well. It’s just not for me. I’d much rather be able to drop my kids off to an indoor facility while they practice (and not only so I can sneak one last snoball in peace ;))! I mean, I love getting to see all they’ve learned in their recitals and such, I just don’t want to have to sit and watch or coach them every single practice! Haha! #MomOfTheYearOverHere! I want my girls to find something they love, and I plan to let them try dance and gymnastics/tumbling in the future (maybe next fall), but for now, I just wanted to take a little break.

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Trini and Ty passed out…

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…while Tristyn made herself a little fort to watch Wishing Poof and eat popcorn (which she made herself). It’s amazing how fast they grow up. The days are long, but the years are short. Seriously. Don’t blink.

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We survived our first “week” back to school! Did I mention that survived it without any alcohol?! Yep! Back on my no-booze binge as of Monday night (that’s over 4 days, not that I’m counting ;))! We enjoyed sleeping in this morning and just hanging out around the house, but are looking forward to church tomorrow morning and a full week of school starting Monday!

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