Who Likes A Routine?

I love the fall. I love the crisp air and the crispy leaves crunching beneath my feet. I love all things apple and pumpkin. I love making soups and stews and breads and cookies. I even love the time change.

But what I love most about the shifting seasons this time of the year, is the family ROUTINE. Kids are getting up with their alarms so there's no more morning blanket tug-o-war. Afternoons are filled with productivity and I know where all my kiddos are. Family dinners happen occasionally and sometimes, if we're really lucky, I'll pop popcorn for some good old fashioned family TV-viewing. Oh, it's so glorious!

So, here are some ways to get in the spirit of a new school year and fill your heart with all-things-autumnal:

1. Get yourself a planner or calendar, maybe even a pretty one that you can decorate with washi tape and stickers and pretty pens.

2. Schedule all the essentials: work events, sports/activities, BTSN, date nights, holiday parties, etc., but leave room for much needed downtime and family fun. (I bet you didn't know it but you can actually say NO sometimes. Try it...it's very liberating!)

3. Sign up for some family volunteer opportunities, maybe at your church or a local food bank. It's amazing how much your heart grows when you help others.

4. Make a priority of checking in with your family members and close friends, cultivating those relationships, careful not to overextend yourself.

5. Chart out your goals for the year and have your family do the same. Add some silly ones (for example, I really want to learn how to replicate CP's chocolate chip muffins), and some not-so-silly ones (like, I really need to organize ALL THE CLOSETS AND DRAWERS AND GARAGES AND THINGS...UGH!)

6. Then, watch the routine and progress make things sweet.

So bake with your kids, dance with your partner, plant some pretty flowers, light a candle or two, use the good stuff, and LIVE life full and out loud. There's no better time than NOW.

Happy Fall Y'all!


Holly and Jenn

Ten Things I Learned Going Back To School

Well, we made it through the first week and this is what I learned (or re-learned) going back to school:

1. No matter what grade, no matter how many years your child has been in the same school/district, there is a boat load of paperwork to fill out on day one. (Though it's getting a bit better with the parent portal - right, CUSD friends?)

2. It never fails, when shopping for school supplies, you will not get ALL THE THINGS on your first trip. It will take MANY trips to many different stores to secure ALL the things. Don't be discouraged. I'm pretty sure it's a test.

3. School clothes shopping is not just for parents anymore. Grandparents are out in droves. I've seen them, mostly grandmas. They're covering their ears cuz "the music in these stores is sooo loud." They're shrugging their shoulders when their grandkids come out of the dressing room. They're ringing their hands, "will your mom and dad approve of that?" If this happens in your family, be a love and send grandma with a list and any applicable dress code details.

4. If YOU are the one shopping, good luck to you. That is all.

5. Homework happens immediately. With earlier testing dates, higher standards and a changing curriculum, there's no easing them (US) back into it. Get ready.

6. Fundraising. School sports and/or performing arts. Boosters. School pictures. Yearbooks. Get a second job. Or a third one. Go. August and September are more expensive than December.

7. Electronic devices need to be shelved for a bit. It's called DETOX and it's necessary for everyone (at least in my family.) It's painful but it's the only thing that will cure DIDBD - Device Induced Brain Drain Disorder. If that isn't a thing, it will be soon. Just wait. I bet it's on Webster's list already. We're trying the NDDSD - No Device During School Days - treatment method. If you see my kids and they're twitchy, or RUDE, you know why.

8. School is magical. At EVERY age. But for very different reasons. ASK your kids. All of them - the sullen, non-verbal teen, the moody (scary) tween, the precious little - and find out what part of school induces that twinkle in their eyes. Just listen. Don't try to influence. It might be the cute boy in chemistry or the cow eyeball dissection in science or the "Super Duck" (shoot me now) fundraising prizes. Whatever form it comes in, celebrate the magic.

9. Teachers are SAINTS. This isn't new news, but I really mean it. Your kid might not always get his/her/YOUR favorite teacher but no one does the job of educating and preparing our kiddos for the next steps in life better than the professionals. Remember, this week is approximately 28-32 times harder on them. Be kind and patient.

10. Peace is a choice people. Going back to school is stressful, for EVERYONE. The only way to soften the blow is to find a few moments each day to relax. That goes for the stressed-out-because-she-already-has-two-tests-AND-the ACT 12th grader, the can't-get-enough-sleep-cuz-has-to-be-up-for-surf-at-5:30 9th grader, and the fell-asleep-doing-homework 8th grader. The same applies for you, mom and dad. Carve out some time for a pedicure or a bike ride, a great work out or a date night. And if time permits, maybe work intentional PEACE into the rotation. It's good for all.

Sooo...tell me about your week. Learn anything?


Holly and Jenn