One Month Ago...

Jacob started Kindergarten.  By far, this has been the busiest month.  Immediately after school started, we began the soccer season.  So our schedule for the last month has been:
Monday - Sets the tone for the week!  We usually catch up around the house from the weekend, and Jacob tends to have more homework on Mondays.  Its not due until later in the week, but I am trying to teach him how not to procrastinate.  His father and I are pro's, so we will see how it works out. 
Tuesday - Andrew has soccer practice at 6:00.  This means I aim to have dinner close to ready by 5:00....and we don't get home from school pickup until 3:30.  This means it is a crazy busy 90 minutes.  Not to mention the little chores we have the boys do (empty dishwasher, carry clothes upstairs to their room, pick up toys).  Then the battle of actually getting soccer clothes on.  It's nuts!
Wednesday - I have declared this Craft Day in the house.  I know I'm ready for a break from actual work by this time, so the boys have to to be ready for a break.  I've only been doing it a couple of weeks, but it is going very well!  It forces me to stop and have fun with the kids rather than carry on the usual barking orders at them.  I look forward to craft day!
Thursday - Jacob has soccer practice at 6:30.  This only gives me about 30 extra minutes than our Tuesday schedule, but it feels like a lot more.  There is still a rush, but it's not quite so dramatic. 
Friday - Pizza and Movie Night.  We ALL look forward to Fridays!  Really...who doesn't?!  We've watched The Lorax, The Wizard of Oz, and I don't remember the others. 
Saturday - Soccer Games.  We are finally to the part of the schedule where we don't have to leave the fields between games.  That should make things a little easier. 
Sunday - Grocery Store, Football (yay!), and sometimes a soccer game.  I think we are almost finished with those. 

So from Monday through Sunday, it feels like we are flying non-stop.  Holy Cow!  I don't know how people do it and have kids in multiple activities.  I enjoy it, but it is a different kind of enjoyment.  lol!

Part Time Gig - I swear I am working harder now than I was when I worked full time.  ha!  It's more of a mental challenge for sure.  I have reached a point where I stay later in the office than I'm supposed to.  The good hour to do work at home is just not a good payoff for me.  I don't really get to get into doing anything.  There is a part of me considering changing my schedule to working until 2:00, but then I wonder if I would push it back again.  And...I have a sweet deal!  I'm not really sure I want to give that up yet either. 

And I've had to learn how to discipline the kids.  I really hate it.  I mean, I don't think everyone enjoys it.  It is definitely a necessary evil.  I have more success in getting the kids to do what I want when I hold them to the rules.  But I hate having to stop to do it.  Awful - I know.  Usually Brian swoops in to save me when I get into trouble or start to lose it with them.  Well, he's not here for 3-4 hours...and then I hear myself freaking about 3-4 hours.  How much of a wuss am I?!  It is a learning experience, so I try to not dwell on that.  I'm better today than I was a month ago - that is a fact! 

Alright...time for bed.  I just wanted to post about the craziness of life! 

First Day of Kindergarten

The first day was mostly a success!  Jacob did not want me to cook a fancy breakfast, so that was kind of a relief.  I mean, I wanted to, but I knew I was cutting it close on time.  I made his lunch just as he requested: PBJ, Grapes, Apples, Crackers, and a Monkey Bar.  And then he had Fruitables in his Batman cup. 

I checked his backpack to make sure he had everything he needed - this included an eraser and his water bottle.  We took all of the other supplies to school on Meet the Teacher night. 

Here is the Back to School picture:

So then came pickup time.  First, I was totally pinching myself on the way to the school.  Am I really on my way to a school to pick up my child?!  I have vivid memories of my mom picking me up from elementary school...and now I'm doing the same thing for my own kids.  It's like I am almost in denial I even have children of my own.  ha!

I arrived at the school a few minutes before 3 which was perfect timing!  Not too shabby for the first day of school.  I walked up to the little courtyard and found Jacob and his teacher.  I immediately smelled dog poop.  Not too surprising because some people brought the dog for pickup.  I spoke to his teacher for a little bit.  I asked how his day was, and she said it was great.  She said that he has a few kids that he will need to learn to talk over, but he is comfortable asking her for anything he needs.  She felt confident that he would eventually be comfortable enough to speak up to participate in class.  I got the feeling that he participates, but he is very quiet and soft spoken.  Typical Jacob. 

As Jacob and I walked to the car, I still smelled the dog poo.  I was sure one of us had stepped in some.  I checked our shoes when we got to the car, and no poo.  I smelled it the entire way to pick up Andrew.  Back up to the morning: I immediately smelled poo or vomit in the kids' room this morning when I went upstairs to wake them up.  So on the way to Andrew's school, I was seriously considering that I might have eaten something to give me a very funky body odor in the last few days. 

We walk into Andrew's school, and the smell just follows me.  We have to walk through a couple of classrooms to get to Andrew's, so I stopped one of the teachers to ask her.  I am clearly very comfortable with her.  I said, "I have a random for you.  Do I smell like dog sh*?"  We were standing between rooms, the kids walked through the door that she was holding open, and she said, "No, but it smells like dog poo in here."  When we were finally loaded in our car, I figured out the mystery smell - have you figured it out yet?!  It was Jacob.  He had poo on his leg. 

Jacob was wonderful to potty train, and he takes care of all of his business by himself.  So I'm still thinking it is dog poo that he got into on the playground; that kind that mysteriously gets off of shoes but not skin; the kind that doesn't exist. 

To shorten this long story, I figured out the mystery when Jacob was on his second shower.  He had an upset tummy this afternoon and had two accidents.  One was at school and the other was at home when he says he couldn't make it to the potty fast enough.  My heart breaks for him a little.  First, he thought he was in trouble for it and would hardly talk to me at all.  Second, he was probably nervous today and didn't know how to express himself.  Third, he felt embarrassed that it happened.  Poor guy! 

So to get ready for tomorrow, we packed an extra set of clothes and some plastic bags in the event of an accident at school.  His highlights from school were the two trips to the playground and his binder.  He seems pumped that he carries all of his work in a binder and not a folder.  There is also a planner in the binder, which I think is cool!  He has a smiley face for today.  I think I'm supposed to initial it, but I'm really not sure.  He also said that he made a new friend named Steven, and he seemed extra excited when I told him he had an uncle named Steven. 

All in all, it was a good day for Jacob!  The boys seemed to enjoy coming home early.  And I kicked ass while I was home alone for an hour and a half.  I left work late today, so I ran out of time. 

And then a quick Andrew story.  I asked him how his day was today, and he said, "It was BAD!  I had to sit in my chair two times today,"  Sitting in the chair is a timeout.  I asked why, and this is the story I got: Ms.  Acloud (McCloud) told me to sit on a different letter and I wanted to sit on my old letter."  The kid knows what he wants and if there is any change, he wants it on his terms.  Here is a funny pic I found of him while I was uploading Jacob's pictures from this morning. 

Jacob Starts Kindergarten

Tomorrow is the day that I've been dreading for about 18 months.  I couldn't even talk about Jacob starting Kindergarten until January when we were finally in the same year.  I don't know what it is about this kid getting older, but I have the hardest time with it. 

Anyway, a part of me is really excited for him!  I mean, he's starting his real school life, and he gets to make new friends.  What is not exciting about all of that?!  We met his teacher on Thursday night.  She seems really sweet, and she has a student teacher for a couple of months.  Jacob can remember the student teacher's name, but not the main teacher's.  It is probably no coincidence that the student teacher is young and super cute.  ha! 

I decided after Meet the Teacher that I was not going to participate in the drop off tomorrow morning.  Brian had suggested it probably a week before, and I totally blew him off.  However, I agree with him that I will probably upset Jacob more than help him along.  The biggest part of me is sad that he is starting Kindergarten.  He is so excited to start his new school that I don't want him to be sad in any way.  Not to mention the mad house that will be waiting at the school since it is the first day.  I've met his teacher, and she had a scavenger hunt for the kids to do to get familiar with the classroom.  Then, as a family, we walked the rest of the school, or what will be Jacob's world.  We saw the music room, art room, gym, and cafeteria.  Then we went out to the playground for a bit.  Andrew was feeling right at home, too!  ha!  So I feel like I experienced the moment in some sense.  And if I end up regretting this decision, I'll do it differently when Andrew starts. 

We read a book tonight that Emily gave us - The Kissing Hand.  She said she gave it to me and Jacob.  So we sat down before bed tonight, as a family, and I began reading the book.  Thank goodness Brian was sitting there because he had to pick up the story in two spots so that I could cry it out a little.  lol! 

I am excited for the little things in the morning.  1. I want to make breakfast.  It may be the cinnamon rolls in the fridge, but I really don't want him to have a lame breakfast bar on his first day.  2. Making his lunch.  I cannot wait!  And he is excited to help me, too.  I want to leave a note for him, so I should probably write that tonight.  3. The obligatory first day picture.  I love that my parents have all of ours!  I'm very excited to do his and Andrew's when that time comes. 

I think it is going to be a fantastic day in his world!  And I think once I get to work, it will be in my world, too. 

More Catch Up

I've actually been super busy since we got back from California.  I post most of life's goings-on on Facebook because its so easy.  However, there is one thing I haven't posted much about at all.  That would be my new awesome part-time gig at work! 

I told Steve that I wanted to go part-time so that when Jacob is done at school, he can come home instead of going to daycare for a couple of hours.  Another motivator is that the family business is kind of in limbo right now - we have too many people in our office and the owners are having some difficulty coming to a good solution to the problem and for them to start easing out of the day-to-day workings of Astro.  I totally understand that,'s a lot to figure out!  So I'm kind of seizing the opportunity.  I can stay involved with the business, which is a business I love dearly!  I hope I make my grandfather proud each day I'm working up there.  He is my inspiration - no doubt!  But I can also do more for my family, too!  Brian is ecstatic!  If you know him, you know he doesn't get too excited about too many things.  And I feel like I'm living the dream now - I get to go to work and have something that is only my world; and then I get to do crafty things and productive things around our home. 

Training has been interesting.  I've been the only person in our office for almost three years.  We had another assistant in the office while I was out for my surgery last year; that lasted about 3 months.  So I have a specific way I do things.  I have tried to simplify that process for training purposes, but there are so many unusual things that can pop up during the process.  It is maddening!  I seriously wanted to hit myself while I was thinking about all of those things and thinking about teaching someone all of that crap!  lol!  It has all worked out pretty nicely, though.  The new girl is responsible for answering the phones in the afternoons (her schedule is 12-4:30; mine is 7:30-12:30), and pushing through all of the daily paperwork and data entry.  It keeps her busy the entire time she is there, and it used to eat my entire day because of all of the other office things that need attention at any given time.  She came on board right before the California trip - literally two days.  ha!  Poor girl, but she was a great sport through it all! 

I looked up one day and realized I had some vacation days I needed to use.  So I took 5 days over two weeks in July.  That was awesome, too!  I got several things done around the house, and I played a little, too.  I mean, they were vacation days.  But in doing that, we did not get the real feel of the logistics of the office until my new schedule went live three weeks ago.  And I feel like it is all working out really well! 

For my first week, I was really excited and gung-ho about getting some stuff done.  I had a few habits to break first.  One, don't go home and take a little snooze.  It's hard to wake up and get moving from that.  Second, actually make a plan and a list of things to accomplish.  And three, communicate the plan to Brian.  Now, Brian has been wonderful through all of this!  But, rightly so, he expects the house to be in better shape overall and for the workings of the house to be more smooth.  I get it!  But it has literally taken me 3 weeks to give that to him.  I usually start Mondays wtih a bang!  I'm ready to get everything done on my list, and I'm full of energy until I finally just fall over.  But then I'm kind of over it the rest of the week.  My second week, I spent that "over it" time doing crafts for the boys' room.  They are completely into superheroes right now, and I have lots of cute ideas that I want to do before they are over superheroes.  They probably don't even care that much about what I've done, but I'm having a blast doing it!  Last week I finally worked on what Brian wanted and has wanted for a while - clean out the garage.  I've been putting it off because its been a hot summer.  Things have cooled off, and I wanted to start getting the boys a little earlier from school.  The problem is that I would get side-tracked doing something, then try to squeeze in something else, and I got them home only an hour earlier. 

Tomorrow real life sets in.  Jacob starts Kindergarten, and my carefree afternoons will end around 2:45 when I leave to get Jacob.  And, if I've learned anything about having two kids, is that they are much easier to handle when they are together.  So that means after I get Jacob, I'll head out to get Andrew.  Let's see how much I can get done from now on.  :)

Last California Post

Aunt Sarah with the boys at breakfast
Day 3: We went to Hearst Castle on our last day in California.  I thought the boys would like to see a real castle!  We went to Medieval Times for their birthdays, so I played off of that to sell this idea to them.  This castle, though, wasn't exactly what I had in mind.  First, you can't touch anything in it.  Second, the man giving the tour is talking about stuff my kids couldn't care less about.  And third, this was Jacob's observation: Nobody was at the castle.  I think he was expecting a live jousting match or something.  I found the castle to be a little obnoxious because I simply cannot imagine the money spent on it and the things in it.  It seems like a lot of wasteful spending to me, but I'm not a "things" person.  Don't get me wrong, it was beautiful!  But the stories behind all of the items: this was shipped from England; Mr. Hearst was obsessed with .  Everything was hand carved and just really excessive.  I don't was facinating the first few minutes and then it became obnoxious to me.  The drive up to the castle was incredible!  Absolutely gorgeous!  I could've gone my entire life and it would be okay for me to not have spent half of a day there.  But it was definitely something I can't see anytime I want.  It was just one of those kinds of things for me.  

The boys running around the castle acting like bad guys

Silly smiles by one of the pools

    That afternoon, we took the boys for their first trip to the beach!  It was funny because we had to pay for parking in a close lot (a whopping $1).  There were trees planted in the parking lot, and of course sand was all around them.  The boys immediately started playing in the if that was the beach!  Cracked me up! 
The Beach!!
Check out our sand castle!

Stomp to destroy the sand castle!

     That night, my parents watched the boys so that Brian and I could squeeze in a date night.  We went to this cute little restaurant for dinner.  It was just nice to get away from the kids for an hour or so before the final day of travel. 

     Again, the boys were near perfect on the planes going back to Texas.  It helped a lot to have 4 extra hands on the way back to help with them (my parents took the same flights back with us).  I took off work the day after we returned, and Brian and the boys returned to their normal routines.  Thank goodness!  ha!  It was so nice to have that one day to recoup.....alone. 

     The trip was so much better than I could have imagined!  Before we left, I was beginning to think we were crazy for taking the kids.  In hindsight, I'm so happy we did.  They are such good boys and they were SO easy going the entire trip!  We had one meltdown per  It was just an amazing trip all around.  :)

California Continued....

Day 2:  We started off the day by going to a donut shop that was made to be a big deal.  I don't remember the name of it now or even why there was so much hype about it.  I don't have a huge sweet tooth, so a donut is just okay for me.  The boys were pumped, though!  Unfortunately, Jacob got sad about something while we were in the donut shop.  I think he told Brian he wanted one kind of donut, then he changed his mind, but he didn't relay the message before Brian ordered.  In those situations, Jacob just stops talking and he starts kicking and pouting.  The kicking isn't hard, but its definitely an expression of frustration.  Neither Brian nor myself have much patience for it.  Anyway, Jacob and Brian ended up spending our donut time in the car.  Brian told Jacob that if he calmed down, they could go back inside.  The kid just carried on.  And we had a potty break in the mix, too.  Crappy start to the day.  The good news is that it was the only meltdown of the day! 

The big kids played at the park, too!
     We had NO plans for that day except the wedding.  I didn't want to stay cooped up in the hotel all day, so I found a park where we could go to play.  Sarah and Derek and my parents came, too.  After the park, we were hungry.  So we called Steve and Gloria and the whole gang met up again for lunch.  Then we went back to the hotel to catch a snooze before the wedding. 

Brian and his Mini-Me
Mom and Brian
Wedding: This wedding was by far the best one I've ever been to.  If you know my cousin Jaime, you know she is a hip lady.  ha!  She appreciates tradition, but she is going to add her own twist.  And she doesn't add the twist to be different - she adds it because it is what she truly wants to do. 

The best men of my life!
The boys under the wedding arch.
 My boys were SO handsome!  Brian took care of their suits.  I was ready to just put them in casual khaki pants and a polo or button down shirt.  If you know anything about Brian, you know that he truly appreciates dressing for the occasion.  No kids of his are going to a wedding dressed down. The man has excellent taste! 

     Jaime and Chris, her husband, were totally beaming!  I don't know that I've ever seen a groom's face as lit up as Chris'.  Jaime walked down the aisle to a rock version of the wedding march.  Everything about her wedding was like that - it's not something that you're expecting, but it totally fits and makes sense for Jaime. 
This picture says it all!  The band let Chris sing a line of a song to Jaime and then he jumped off of the stage.
     The food was AMAZING!  The drinks were AMAZING!  The entertainment was AMAZING!  To kick things off, she and my uncle Art did the obligatory father daughter dance.  Jaime is a sap like myself.  So when the song Butterfly Kisses started playing, I thought to myself, what the hell is she on?!  Then, Art went up to the DJ and gave him some money.....and the Party Rock Anthem began playing.  They had this whole thing choreographed.  So fun!  My next observation is that all music was dance and party music.  No slow songs.  This worked out for me because my family bailed pretty early.  Jacob and I did get in a few good dances.  Jaime had a Van Halen cover band play her wedding....apparently Chris is a huge Van Halen fan!  That was probably the best money spent on the whole wedding in my opinion.  The members of the band were so nice and they were extremely talented!  Between sets, we did a Girls Flash Mob.  I had too much to drink by that point, so I don't really know how I did.  It was so fun!   I've always wanted to do a flash know, since they became popular.  ha! 

I love this picture!  Matthew, Andrew, and Jacob playing with slugs....while dressed in their suits.

     After the wedding, those of us left standing met in the bar at the hotel.  I only lasted a few minutes before I had to have Derek escort me to my room.  I was sure I was going to be sick, so I just crashed in bed with my dress on.  When I woke up the next morning, the boys asked if we were going to another wedding.  Yeah....funny, but not my best Mom moment. 

California (as sung by Phantom Planet)

We got back in town on Tuesday from a 4 day trip to California for my cousin Jaime's wedding.  This trip had a ton crammed into it, and the boys got to come, too!!  They were SO good, I still cannot get over it.  How did we get so lucky to have such wonderful boys?!  Oh yeah, cause we are badasses.  jk!

(Novel to begin........NOW)

Day 1: Wake up at 3:00 a.m. Texas time after going to sleep around midnight (Brian and me anyway).  We woke the boys up around 3:30 I guess.  We were loaded and out of the house by 4:00 a.m.  Noteworthy because no one was crying, and we actually left on time.  We are never on time as a family.  Ever.  We got to the airport around 4:30, did the security thing, grabbed some breakfast (although I'm convinced that airport food employees are instructed to go slow....even though people are probably in a hurry to make sure they don't miss their flights).  Our flight was at 6:00 a.m. and left on time.  The boys did GREAT!  I was totally impressed that they were so good on the first flight and was sure it was a fluke.  Next, we had a 3.5 hr layover in Phoenix.  It was 6:30 a.m. there by the time we got off of the plane.  I was ready for lunch, but all that was to be found in the airport was more breakfast food.  Actually, that's not true.  I wanted a burger, and we couldn't find any.  The boys had pizza, and Brian and I had Burger King hashbrowns.  lol!  I was SO tired that I had to try to catch some zzz's.  So I went to our gate with all of the bags, and Brian "ran the boys" in a terminal without much traffic and lots of moving sidwalks.  I actually did fall asleep and felt refreshed by my power nap. 
Andrew on our first flight.  Happy boy!
     The second plane sat about 50 people.  The flight attendant was hilarious, but she wasn't really trying to be.  First, the lady never cracked a smile the entire trip.  I am fascinated by people like that because a smile is so damn easy!  It is a friendly gesture, and it makes other people usually feel good.  I just don't get it, but I understand not everyone can handle being Ms. Smiley.  But a flight attendant?!  Crazy.  Second, she was trying SO hard to talk in that flight attendant voice.  Everything was very sing-songy.  She had a couple of stumbles which made me giggle only because she was trying so hard.  Then she had a couple of funny ways of saying things.  The only one I can remember right now was "all personal items should be stowed away under the seat in front of you.  Should you find your legs folded beneath you like a pretzel, your bag should probably be moved to the overhead compartment."  She did the drinks, and had the same line for every freaking passenger: "Anything to drink?"  Then if they didn't just tell her what they wanted, she snapped, "Which would you like?"  When she was finished bringing the beverages, she sat at the front of the plane in front of the door to the cockpit.  If I could've done it slyly, I would have taken a picture.  She just stared at the floor, didn't talk to anyone, didn't look at anyone, and never smiled or showed any expression.  I found this completely hysterical in my delirious state.  I felt a little bad for her, but damn...she chose to be a flight attendant.  We landed at the small county airport, and we got to get off of the plane on the ramp on the tarmac.  Pretty cool!! 
Jacob in Phoenix.  He wanted to wear his headphones so that he could be a pilot, too!

     Then we had our first and only real adventure of the trip.  It all happened at the rental car place which was located in the 2 Gate airport that we flew into in San Luis Obispo.  Brian was completely exhausted by the time we made it to SLO, so he asked me to go with the girl to get the rental car and the car seats for  the boys.  So off we go, and she was friendly.  I was making small talk because I guess I like it.  lol!  We get the car; get the car seats; and pull back to the loading lane at the airport.  At this point, I turned off the van, picked up my purse, had the key in my hand, got out of the van, and hit the lock button.  Then the girl told me that she would get my husband because you're not supposed leave cars unattended in that lane.  (Thoughts and actions from that moment)  No biggie.  I'll just get the van ready to be loaded.  Let me put my purse in the passenger seat, the key in the cup holder, and open up the back.  (close the driver door).  Walk to the back to open the back door, locked.  Walk back to the driver door.  Shit!  Locked.  Oh!  I'm at the rental car place.  Surely they have a spare key! such luck.  First, the girl gave me attitude when I told her like I was a dumbass.  And I just thought, bitch, I've been at this traveling thing for about 11 hrs now...yup, I messed up.  Second, a guy with another rental car company tried to break into the car with a coathanger.  It's just funny!  Third, the girl comes back out to make sure there was no way to get into the van.  As she walks around the back, she is explaining that she has to send someone to the main office (which was closed on Saturday) to pickup the spare key.  She says, "so annoying!" in her outside voice as she's walking around.  (Side note, in the hour and a half that followed, she played on her computer and talked on her cell phone - NO other customers came to her for a rental car - I guess we were interrupting the plans for Budget rental car as we just SAT in the waiting area).  So yeah, it took an hour and a half for a guy to get the spare key - and he came back with a speeding ticket.  I didn't ask anyone to break the law!  He was quite upset, though, and I felt bad for like a minute.  I was ready to get my hands on that burger! 
     We met up with the fam once we dropped everything off in our hotel room.  They had just gone down to the pool.  So we put on our swimsuits (the boys and I), and then we got into the pool....and froze our little tooshies off!  I think it was 75-ish outside and there was a breeze in the air.  Holy cow!  It was so cold getting out of that pool.  We all realized that it would be our only free night together in SLO.  So we all got ready and had a big Paxton dinner together - just our little Paxton clan.  I love those dinners!  A band started playing after we were finished eating, and Jacob asked me to dance with him.  How sweet!  He wanted to practice for the wedding.  He saw another couple dancing around the dance floor, and he was determined for us to dance the same way.  It's just too cute! 
Aunt Sarah and Jacob getting low low low.
(All of the pictures of Jacob and me were blurry)

     We went back up to the hotel room after that, and Brian and I got the kids ready for bed.  Jaime had planned a get together in the bar so that all of us out-of-towners could mingle for a bit.  I went down just to say hi to Jaime and her husband-to-be, and I ended up staying out way too late and had way too much to drink.  ha!  Actually, Steve and I were drinking together.  We work together everyday, and we never drink together anymore.  So fun!

     That wraps up Day 1 of California.  It was a great start to a great vacation!