Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

I always feel like Labor Day Weekend is that last little bit of summer fun before fall really starts. It's a time to say goodbye to one season and welcome another.


This year, we spent the holiday with my college girl. Yay! Even though she's only been gone a short time, it feels like a long time since we've had the whole family together. We had a picnic lunch by a lake and enjoyed some swimming and hiking. Listening to my other kids pepper her with questions about college and tell her all the news of home was heartwarming for me. It was great to hear what she's been doing and really talk for awhile. Phone calls, FaceTime, and texts are wonderful, but they're no replacement for face to face conversation.

We even stopped for a little visit on campus to see her dorm. This thrilled my twins as they've been full of curiosity about where she stays and how it all works. They don't really understand college life, but they know enough to think it looks like something they'd like to try!

As my kids have grown, they've become more and more fun. I look forward to family conversations and think what they say is so interesting. When my children were little, I felt like I knew everything about them. As they've grown, I've come to appreciate the things they share with me as gifts. They alone can choose to let me be a part of their lives and thoughts and feelings. I don't take that lightly. It's a great privilege. Days like today when we share laughter and time are a treasure that I hope never runs out no matter what changes different seasons may bring.

Motivational Monday #106

Welcome to the Motivational Monday Link Party! I hope you're all enjoying a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! Last time we had 170 link-ups and I can't wait to read about what you've been up to this week. 

In case you're new here, each Monday we focus on inspirational posts, healthy recipes, crafts, and home decorating/organizing tips. Each category has its own link to make it easier for readers to find fabulous posts. Motivational Monday links with five other co-hosts, too. That way each post gets more exposure.

Below you'll find all the social media information for the hosts, so you can connect with us!

Follow the Motivation Monday Hosts

Barb of A Life in Balance

Mitzi of Written Reality

Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

Katie of Mom Favorites

Marie of Normal Everyday Life

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs


motivation-monday-linky-party-106-1 motivation-monday-linky-party-106-2


Features

Barb- A Life in Balance

1. Dollar Store Fall Foliage Mason Jar Luminary | Simplee Thrifty 2. Ways to Rest When You Have No Time | From This Kitchen Table

Mitzi- Written Reality

3. Watermelon and Lobster | Simply Suzanne's 4. 10 Ways to Upcycle Old T-shirts | The It Mom

Lauryn- A Vintage Mom

5. Jack o Lantern Orange Fruit Cups | Simple Thrifty 6. A Love of Succulents | The Little Farm Diary

Katie- Mom Favorites

7. Spicy Roasted Chickpeas | Natural Chow 8. 10 Back to School Tips for Moms| The Organized Dream

Marie- Normal Everyday Life

9. What Love Looks Like at 40 | Two Teens and Their Mama 10. That Time I made Him Get Rid of His Change | Hope in the Healing

Toni- Tickles and Time Outs

11. Being Real: Fulfilled | Misty Leask 12. 31 Acts of Kindness Part 1 | Me Plus 3 Today

School Talk



I went to the middle school open house this week to meet the teachers and follow my child's schedule for one night. Honestly, I've kind of slacked off on these things over the years. (Read this is the third kid and you know the story from there). But...that great purveyor of motherly guilt and advice, Facebook, convinced me I should make more of an effort. 

So I found myself sitting in desk chairs for a couple hours listening to what my son is doing all day. One, I was very impressed with all of his teachers and his school. It's amazing what they can get those sixth graders to learn! Two, it never fails to surprise me how much different school feels now that I'm the parent. Being back in school for even a couple hours always makes me admire my kids and all they do in a day. Feels like there's more to keep up with than when I was a kid, but that might just be because I view it all through different eyes now. Anyway suffice it to say, repeating the school years would not be on my wish list for time travel. 

This week I read two excellent posts that pretty much sum up how I feel about back to school right now. One is really funny and one is really sad. I don't operate on an even keel so I'm fine with laughing and crying all in one post. I hope you are, too!

So...

If you feel like letting a few good tears fall, then you'll want to read Dana from Kiss My List's poignant post, Beginnings and Ends, on the first day of school.

And if you feel like a good laugh, you'll want to read Victoria Fedden's post on Scary Mommy, Back to School: The 70's vs. Now.

Then come back and let me know what you think because nothing bonds moms like talking about their emotions and feelings! :) 

Storage Ideas for Small Spaces

Well, we did it! College drop off is complete. My daughter's dorm room is decorated and classes started today, so the very first fall semester is officially underway. One of the things I was looking forward to on move in day was decorating the dorm room. We had fun looking for ideas to increase storage in a tiny space. One of best ideas we found was making these little seats out of milk crates. Not only do they provide extra storage and a place for friends to sit, but they also fit neatly under her bed.


I saw the idea for these here. They're pretty self explanatory from the picture. All that was required was milk crates, plywood, quilt batting, material, and a staple gun. After cutting the plywood to fit the the top of the crate, you staple batting and material around it to create a cushioned seat. The tops then lift out for quick access to whatever you choose to store inside.

After I put these together, I used the extra material to decorate one of these plastic drawer units. Using a hot glue gun, I attached material to each of the inside front panels. Now she can put whatever she wants in there and no one can see the contents from the outside. My younger daughters liked both of these projects so much they want me to make the same things for their room!


Just for fun, here was our view of the dorm room when we first walked in.


I couldn't help feeling it had the air of a prison cell. This is her side looking in from the doorway. Two desks face each other and serve to divide the room. 

And here is an after picture. Much better!


I really enjoyed working in a small space trying to make it as functional as possible. On the way home, my husband was bemoaning the fact that we might end up setting up dorm rooms twenty times. I told him I look forward to it. That's totally the fun part! It's the hauling it all back home for the summer and having it take over my dining room again that I dread! :)

Motivational Monday #105

Welcome to the Motivational Monday Link Party! Last week we had 180 link-ups and I can't wait to read about what you've been up to this week. 

In case you're new here, each Monday we focus on inspirational posts, healthy recipes, crafts, and home decorating/organizing tips. Each category has its own link to make it easier for readers to find fabulous posts. Motivational Monday links with five other co-hosts, too. That way each post gets more exposure.

Below you'll find all the social media information for the hosts, so you can connect with us!

Follow the Motivation Monday Hosts

Barb of A Life in Balance

Mitzi of Written Reality

Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

Katie of Mom Favorites

Marie of Normal Everyday Life

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs


motivation-monday-linky-party105-1 motivation-monday-linky-party-105-2


Features

Barb- A Life in Balance 1. Sidewalk Chalk for Gross Motor Skills Practice | Mama Teaches 2. The Gift of Rest | From This Kitchen Table

Mitzi- Written Reality 3. Snicker Caramel Apple Salad Recipe | Daily Leisure 4. Getting Back in a Routine for School| Nepa Mom

Lauryn- A Vintage Mom 5. Homemade Corn Dogs | Ten at the Table 6. Making Sun Dried Tomatoes| Little House Living

Katie- Mom Favorites 7. Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas | Satisfaction Through Christ 8. Painting Metal Chairs With Chalk Paint | The Cookie Puzzle

Marie- Normal Everyday Life 9. 4 Reasons to Add a Regular Parents Night to Your Family's Schedule| Calk Healthy Sexy 10. When Photos Fail | Just a Touch of Crazy

Moving In and Letting Go



Today we're traveling to this campus to drop our freshman daughter off at college. Our van is stuffed full of everything we could think of to create a home away from home for this precious girl that has shared our home for the past 18 years. She'll now sleep and eat and actually live here. She'll meet new friends and experience things we'll only hear about, if we're lucky enough to have her share them with us. It's the way it's supposed to be. Everyone tells you your children will leave and make their own way, and many a teenage day you wish it would hurry up and get here...but then it comes and all of a sudden it hurts to breathe.

But there's also excitement because let's face it, there's a great big world waiting out there. I mean walking those paths and getting to learn new things and meet so many people seems pretty enticing. And decorating a dorm room sounds fun! We've been collecting things and planning and I'm anxious to get there and see what we can do to erase the institutional look from her four walls. It's the part after the decorating that I'm dreading. I'm dreading good-bye.

A few months ago, I wrote about the joy and pain I felt leading up to high school graduation in You Might See Me Crying. The only thing I'd change in that post to reflect how I feel about college move in day is the title because today you will see me crying...and laughing and reminiscing. The irony of this process is that we're sad to see her go, but we'd be even sadder to see her stay. She's ready to be independent and we look forward to seeing what and who she becomes these next four years.

This is going to be a process...letting go and learning how to parent in a different way. If you've experienced this with your kids, or remember some helpful things your parents did, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. The first one is always the guinea pig, so I'm sure my daughter would appreciate any advice you have to give, too!



Skating Dreams

Reliving your childhood through your children is one of those special privileges of being a parent.

The year was 1980 and I was in second grade. The Winter Olympics were on and I was enthralled with figure skating. I remember my mom letting me stay up late to watch all I could. The skaters were so beautiful and talented and I was sure that I could do it if only I had the chance. I didn't have access to an ice rink, but I did have a linoleum kitchen floor and a pair of socks. I could make myself spin, do figure eights, twirls, and jumps. In my mind, the crowd went wild as I finished with a triple axel.


Isn't the imagination of a child a wonderous thing? Yesterday, I watched my daughter in her own skating dream. The van was pulled out of the garage and the bikes were all pushed to the side. The dirty cement floor became glossy hardwood and her father's size 10 roller skates became her magical slippers. They were stuffed with extra gloves she had found and she used hockey sticks to steady herself at first, but they gave her the power of transportation. She played music on her iPod and twirled around the floor for an hour. I'm sure the crowd was cheering as tricks were played out in her mind.



History repeats itself in big and small ways. What do you see in your children that reminds you of you?


*This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!