Thursday, August 29, 2013

I Love/Hate Fall

Normally, I love Fall!  It's really my favorite time of year.  (See past blog posts:  October Fun 2012, Fall is the Best Time of Year 2009)  I love the crisp air, the leaves turning colors, kids back in school......and my favorite thing:  pumpkin spice lattes!  And even though I detest football, Bryan is a very happy boy during Fall football season, especially when the Beavers are on. 

And normally one of the things that's attractive about Fall is getting back into a normal routine and a regular family schedule.

Oh but not this year.

This year we are making the leap to middle school (gasp), which means a whole different schedule.  In our school district, middle school starts/ends a full hour and fifteen minutes before elementary school.  This is not fun for parents of multiple ages.  So we're dealing with the dilemma of do we have Kaela ride the bus (less driving for us, but a full 30 minutes earlier for her) or do we drive her (doesn't have to get up at the crack of dawn, but that makes FOUR trips to the school every day.)  We only live 2.5 miles from the school, so it's not actually a big deal--but it's just the zig zag factor of driving back and forth.  Four times.  And the interrupted/staggered will that work exactly?

Then there's the after-school activities:  Kaela has play practice four days a week.  Graeson has taekwondo twice a week, plus football practice twice a week, and football games once a week.  Maezie has gymnastics once a week.  Bryan and Kaela have youth group once a week.  Graeson and Maezie have swim lessons once a week.  (My head is swimming, that's for sure....)

So the morning routine will look something like this:  Bryan takes Kaela to school, Jill gets Graeson and Maezie out of bed and five minutes of morning cuddles, Bryan-Graeson-Maezie take Jill to work, go back home and get ready for school, Bryan takes Graeson-Maezie to school. 

Trip count:  3 trips, 13 miles, 45 total minutes driving.

Then there's mid-day:  Bryan picks up Jill for lunch at home, back to work an hour later.  Consideration has gone into is it necessary to come home for lunch, but--it's only 1.5 miles so why not?  Besides, who wants to eat lunch at work?!

Trip count:  2 trips, 6 miles, 15 total minutes driving.

And then (deep breath) there's the afternoons.  Get your roller skates on.  Mondays:  Pick up Kaela from school, pick up Graeson-Maezie from school, football practice....but at the same time Jill needs to get off work (which I might add, is highly unpredictable)--uh oh, schedule conflict number one.  So I either have to get off work an hour early (not something that can be counted on) or I have to stay two hours late until 7pm (not fond of that idea.)

Trip count:  4 trips, 15 miles, not sure how this is going to work....

Tuesdays:  Maezie gymnastics, Graeson taekwondo (mercifully they are both at the same place AND the same time), Kaela play practice (a different location), back to pick up Maezie, pick up Jill from work, Jill-Maezie eat dinner, Bryan goes back to pick up Kaela then Graeson, Bryan-Kaela-Graeson eat dinner.  This we can actually manage without a schedule conflict!

Trip count: 6 trips, 20 miles, 70 total minutes driving.

Wednesdays:  Kaela play practice, Graeson football practice.....uh oh, again at the same time Jill is getting off work--another schedule conflict, what to do?  Kaela gets done with play practice, but Bryan-Graeson are still at football practice and no one has come to pick up Jill.....Kaela is stranded, Jill is stranded, who knows where Maezie is.....  Even if the magic genie got us all where we needed to be, as soon as we get home Bryan-Kaela leave for youth group.  Dinner?  What dinner?

Trip count:  does anyone have a calculator?

Let's not EVEN go there for the remainder of the week.....I assure you it's more of the same!  But just for fun, let's fast-forward to Sundays.  We had (had!) a nice little plan of attending church as a family, then helping in kids ministry second service, then having a lunch-time Bible study at our house after church.  Bend Parks and Rec apparently did not get this memo:  all football games are scheduled on Sundays, ranging in schedules from 10:30 to 3:00.  So this means either Kaela-Maezie-Mom have to stay at church, stranded, long after everyone else has left.....or some of us don't go....or none of us go.....and did I mention the football games are CLEAR ACROSS TOWN!?  And this really messes up our lunch group plans too......

For 7 years now, we have been a one-car-family, and we have intentionally made sacrifices and inconveniences to maintain this commitment.  We've always known this day will come when kid schedules collide with the overall family schedule.....but honestly I didn't really think that time would come until high school.  But--WHAM! that time is now:  we have come to the reality that it is physically impossible to continue the one-car-family plan.  We've looked at the schedule ain't. gonna. happen.

We'll be car shopping in a hurry.  And we're praying we find a good one (translation: cheap, reliable, gas-saver) in the next 11 days before the Chaos of Conflicting Schedules begins. 

Ready, set, go.....!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Blog? What blog?

So it's been a while since the last blog post.....personally, I blame Facebook, since I can post short updates/photos without much energy at all.  But alas, here's the catch-up on the Williams family this summer.

The beginning of summer means the end of school, and this year was particularly end-ful as Kaela is officially leaving elementary school!  She's on to middle school next year, and this brings a little sniffle to mama.  Kaela's 5th grade class went on an overnight field trip to the Evergreen Air & Space Museum in McMinnville, which included a stop in Salem at the state capitol building.  Mom was a chaperone, which meant sleeping overnight on the museum floor.  The following week we attended an informal graduation ceremony in the gym, and the 1st graders made special hats for each of the graduating 5th graders.  Later on in June, we celebrated Kaela's half-birthday which makes her 11 and a half now!

3D IMAX movie at the overnight field trip
Dad, Kaela, & Mom at 5th grade graduation
Half-birthday slumber party

4th of July is always fun, and especially in Bend where they have a big festival with tons of fun for kids.  Then we got to stay up late and watch the fireworks.  5 year old Maezie HATES FIREWORKS!  She has fears and anxieties with loud noises and fires, so she watched from inside the living room window.  Graeson played summer baseball which was great for him and no cold weather for parents to sit through!  Graeson also continues to excel in taekwondo, and is on the Demo Team for performances.  Kaela enjoyed acting in another play, this time a summer workshop where they focused on several one-act plays.  One character she played was Thisbe (from Shakespeare) where she even got to stab herself in full dramatic flare! The end of July brought us to the Sharp family reunion (Jill's side of the family) where we had tons of fun with cousins, aunts/uncles, grandparents, and our favorite GG.
Maezie the flag girl

Batter up!

Graeson is a High Red belt in taekwondo

Kaela in her most dramatic moment

Jill's mom (Nana), Jill's grandma (GG), and the Williams women

August is just beginning, but already we've had some fun times! This past weekend, Graeson and Bryan went camping for Taekwondo Camp, and we girls stayed home and had our own fun.  We stayed up late watching movies and eating caramel corn; the next day we went to the park and had free lunch for kids then crafts in the park.  We met a friend at a big water park--swimming in the pools, floating the "lazy river", and careening down water slides.  We also did some school clothes shopping (which is way more fun with no boys!)  Meanwhile, Graeson was learning how to use nun-chucks, swords, and other martial arts; he also was taking late night canoe rides, and playing and playing and playing with the other boys!  We girls were SURE we were having more fun than the boys......and the boys were SURE they were having more fun than the girls.

Movies and caramel corn

Trying on school clothes

Can you find Graeson?