Keepin’ up with Lumber in my Minivan

Well, life returned to normal this week when we all said goodbye to our beloved Christmas break and went back to work and school. The oldest of the Little Lumbers actually went back to school last week.

Because I never get to do fun mommy things like eat lunch at school with my kid, I did exactly that. This is one benefit to working on a different school system than the one your children attend- you can sometimes do some non-teacher parent things when you’re off and they’re not.

I also captured this super cute picture of the Littlest Lumber modeling her Daddy’s church shoes. Daisy the cat seems to be saying, “what are thooooose?”

I’ve been a bit under the weather this week but I went back to work. A certain little kitty decided to keep me company. She’s a pretty good nurse.

I’m working on transitioning my out building into a new crafting space for me. I needed somewhere to spread out my projects and not worry about having to clean them back up each day. Right now it still looks like a hot mess but I’m definitely not done.

Yikes.

Well, that’s what’s new with the Lumbers this week! Check back tomorrow for Scripture Sunday!

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2019: a year in review

2019, what a year. It was a busy year but overall, a great one. I took some time off blogging and it was the step back I needed. Now I’m back and feeling better than ever.

January: a new year

We blew into 2019 and hit the ground running. We had a pretty low key January and nothing particularly interesting happened…but it was still a great month.

February: NCSU gymnastics

We took our tiny gymnast to see the NCSU gymnastics team compete against the UNC gymnastics team in historical Reynolds Coliseum. It was a blast and we loved it.

March: Mr. Lumber’s birthday

See that handsome devil with the tape measure? That’s my handsome devil and he turned 39 this year. He’s gonna get me for posting that, too. Oh well.

March was a pretty quiet month and we didn’t do a lot. I did attempt to raise awareness of colon cancer by sharing my dad’s story.

April: my birthday and the Tarheel Ten Miler

In April I turned 34 and ran in the Tarheel Ten Miler for the first time ever. It wasn’t my best time but I finished and got this beautiful piece of hardware.

I was also at my heaviest weight back then.

May: last day of school

This little sweetie finished her second grade year and got started on a super busy summer break.

I celebrated Mother’s Day with my sweet mama and my girls.

June: better choices and a better me

With the help of my personal trainer, better diet choices and adding strength training to my endurance runs, I lost almost fifty pounds. I am amazed at how much better I look and feel.

This little lady also turned 8.

July: beach vacation

We took a family vacation to Wrightsville Beach for the first time in ages and had a blast.

August: back to school!

We went back to school and Emorie began third grade. Aubrey has a year and a half left until she starts school. I began my 12th year of teaching.

We posted this end of summer recap.

September: adjusting to being back in school

We began the very tedious process of redecorating our back porch. We are still not done.

We didn’t do much in September, as we were adjusting to being back in school.

October: Halloween, farm visits and day trippin’

This little flapper and little Anna made their way through our town and brought back a giant haul of sweets. They didn’t wanna share. Too bad.

We had some work done in our yard and we cleared out some overgrowth. We have plans to remove this flower bed altogether but I’m not sure what we will put in its place.

We built this fireplace and even though it was hard and a pain in the neck, I am pleased with the result.

We visited two local farms and had a blast.

November: Thanksgiving, family, and dance

This little hot mess turned four.

This little lady had her first dance competition and she brought home her first crown! We are heading to regionals in March and nationals in June.

Then, we ate four Thanksgiving dinners til I thought I’d pop.

December: the busiest and most rushed Christmas ever

On a sad note, we lost our sweet yellow lab mix in December. We miss this big guy so much but we are so glad for 13 years he got to be our dog. Until we see you again, big guy.

Thanksgiving was late this year and that made Christmas seem early. I also didn’t get off work until the 20th, which meant I rushed to get my decorating up and my shopping done. And it was rough!

I still managed to get these awesome pics of Santa in our living room.

And I think our kiddos had a great Christmas and they each got what they wanted 🙂

I hope your 2019 was a good year and I hope your 2020 will bring blessings and peace. See you next year! Tune in on January 3 for our word of the year.

Back to school: tips for a smoother first day of school

How to have A better, more smooth

My sweet girl returns to school on Thursday, and my own first day of school is just around the corner. While the beginning of a school year can be really stressful and difficult, it doesn’t have to be. Like in many other situations, a little planning ahead goes a long way.

Please enjoy the following tips for making your first day of school run more smoothly…and please comment and add your own!

1. Go to sleep early

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Photo by Sam K on Pexels.com

Studies have shown well-rested kids perform better in school. A week or two before school starts, make sure your kiddos are back on schedule- early to bed and early to rise. It’ll make fighting that “morning wake up” battle so much easier.

2. Organize early, as much as possible.

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Don’t wait til the last minute. Buy everything you need and get it organized a few weeks before school starts. You’ll be glad you did, and if you forget anything, you’ll have plenty of time to get it.

3. Involve your kids in your planning process

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Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Take your kids back to school shopping and help them choose their supplies. Do whatever you can to get them excited about going back to school.

4. Practice your routine

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Get your kids prepared for their new routine by practicing their bed time and get up time a few weeks before school starts. Discuss when homework will be done and when chores will be done. Talk a lot about what a school night will look like so your child will know what’s expected once school starts.

5. Keep calm and…keep calm

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Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

I’m being just a little facetious with that picture of course 🙂 But it’s true. First days of school, or just mornings in general, can be stressful. Your child is probably already a little anxious or worried about their first day. The calmer you are, the calmer they are likely to be. Don’t stress- take a few deep breaths because it’s gonna be ok.

6. Prepare the night before, as much as possible.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Keep things simple in the morning by laying out clothes, packing lunches, packing back packs, and anything else that is needed the night before. Then, focus on having a fun and restful evening. The more you can prepare ahead of time the more you can relax and enjoy your morning the next day.

7. Don’t be late!

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Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

When you’re late, it stresses you out. Leave the house a little early if you can- no one wants to be late for the first day of school!

8. Do something unexpected

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Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Kids are crazy about surprises, so anything unexpected that fills their love tank is great. Maybe it’s as simple as a sweet note in their lunch box, or a special notebook or pen in their bag. Maybe it’s a milkshake on the way home from school, or a fun and simple outing after school. Giving your kiddos a sweet, unexpected surprise will make them feel loved and valued.

And lastly, take a breather for yourself after you drop off your kids and refill your own tank. You deserve it!

Cute and Functional Study Spaces

Cute and Functional Study Spaces

My daughter needed a quiet, well-lit and organized place to study and do homework. We bought her this desk off Craigslist some time ago, but we never really decorated or did anything to make it inviting.

It wasn’t bad, but it was missing some key elements. Check this post for elements of an effective study space.

We decided to purchase a lamp

And we repurposed an old towel bar, S-hooks, and decorative buckets to store writing utensils.

Just $16 made a huge impact on her study space.

Her desk is far less cluttered and much cleaner now.

What small change has made a big impact at your house?

Sunday Musings: I don’t have it all together…and that’s OK

Sunday Musings: I don’t have it all together…and that’s OK

I don’t have it all together. Not even close.

If most of us are honest, we will admit that we don’t have it all together. In today’s Pinterest-perfect society, we are expected to be perfectly dressed with perfect makeup, not a hair out of place, with perfectly clean, magazine worthy homes. We are expected to have a home-cooked dinner on the table every night, with perfectly dressed and perfectly behaved children.

I don’t have that; at least, not all the time. And never all at once. So, who holds us to this impossibly high standard? We do. We hold ourselves to these impossibly high standards we can never meet, but luckily, God does not.

God chose us, even though we are a long way from perfect. We don’t have it all together and God chose us anyway.

Ephesians 1:4 says “For he chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before Him.” We don’t need to be perfect; we just need Jesus. There are no perfect humans, and there don’t need to be. Jesus already fulfilled the role of the perfect human.

It’s tempting to spend all of our time trying to be perfect and live up to those impossible standards, but instead, let’s put that energy into trying to be like Jesus. He already knows we aren’t perfect and he loves us anyway.

Have a blessed week.