Saturday, August 24, 2013

Back to School

This past week was back to school week here in Arkansas.  
That meant hubs went back to work, my mom went back to work, my mother in law went back to work, lots of friends went back to work, and last but not least, Sara Kate moved up classrooms!  The week we were at the beach was a fun week but it was also an exciting week job wise for Chris.  He had lots of email conversations, a phone interview, and in the end, got a new job.  He's still teaching choir in Fayetteville, but he moved from a middle school director to a junior high director (along with being an assistant at the high school).  He was sad to leave his boys at the middle school, but he was also excited and ready to start a new adventure.  I'm a big dork and always take his picture on the first day of school...his mother recently thanked me, haha!
Monday was a big day for Chris, but it was also a big day for Sara Kate.  She moved from the Skipper class to the Monarch class!  The Monarch class is considered the 'preschool' class.  She's been a Tadpole, Pollywog, Frog, Pygmy, Skipper, and now she's a Monarch.  Only one more class, the Pre-K class (Emperors), before she goes to kindergarten...I can't believe it!  Anyway, she was very excited to go to the Monarch class, and on Monday she was VERY excited to wear her new back to school outfit that Meme bought her (even though she's been back in school full time since the beginning of August).
I didn't see her new teacher Monday afternoon but I talked to her on Tuesday and again on Thursday, and she told me Sara Kate is doing GREAT in the Monarch class.  She's listening, following directions, taking a nap, eating lunch, and if she starts misbehaving, they can corrects it quickly with redirection.  I'm so relieved to hear all of that.  It's no secret that our daughter is strong willed and very independent.  She was having a lot of behavior problems at the end of last school year in the Skipper room, and her teacher told me then that she thought the root of the behavior problems were that Sara Kate was bored and needed to be challenged more (but they couldn't move her yet).  Hopefully we'll continue in the right direction with her behavior.
I'm so proud at some of her take home sheets from this week.  They are really working on tracing and are starting to write letters.  Her teacher bragged on her at how well she's doing with her tracing (see the 'school' picture above too!).  
Here is her working on writing an 'A.'  She's 3 years old...I'm impressed (even though I've already seen her starting to write some letters like an 'S' and and 'H'...still impressed.).
One more back to school item I want to mention has to do with our precious niece Hannah.  She started kindergarten this week and I can't hardly believe she's old enough for big school!!  We talked to her Monday night and she said she made a few new friends, made a friend that was a boy, and her favorite part of the day was recess.  :-)  We love her and are so proud of her!
Overall, I'd say the first week of school was a success.  We all got to school and work on time (well, mostly on time for me, ha!), traffic wasn't too much of a nightmare (but the University starts back next week so that could change, ha!), all lunches and dinners got made (whew!), and we all went to bed at a decent time each night (thank goodness!!).  Hopefully Chris will have a good year teaching at the junior high and Sara Kate will continue to learn and thrive this year in the Monarch class.  If you went back to school this week, I hope you had a great week!  If you go back in the coming week, good luck!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Razorback Fan Day 2013

Today was Razorback Fan Day at Bud Walton Arena.  It's a cool event where they have all the players and coaches available to sign memorabilia, they have posters and some other free stuff, and the cheerleaders and mascots are walking around available for pictures.  And it means football season is just around the corner, yay!!  We went last year, and looking back at my post and pictures from this time last year Sara Kate looked so little...maybe because she had very little hair (but she still had a bit of a baby face)!!  Last year fan day was held on Saturday morning and this year it was on a Sunday afternoon, which we thought was kind of strange but oh well.  We had kind of planned our day around Sara Kate napping and going to Fan Day.  But then church ran long, I didn't get to go running with my friend like I had planned, Sara Kate got to nap late, and I just didn't think we would make it.  When she woke up(on the wrong side of the bed I might add), she didn't want to do anything!!  She didn't want to go see the Razorbacks (which she always wants to do), she didn't want to change clothes, she didn't want to pick a dress, she didn't want to wear shoes...but then she finally picked a dress, got changed, and got excited to go see the Razorbacks!!  We did get there pretty late but players were still hanging around and so were the cheerleaders.  First she got 'face painting' on her arm, and she picked out a heart.  Just like last year she did so good just sitting there letting the girls paint her arm, and when they were done she was so proud.  She said, 'Hannah's gonna love it!!' (Hannah is our niece, who Sara Kate adores, and she had a huge temporary tattoo on her arm yesterday, haha!)
After getting her arm painted, we walked around and found some sweet cheerleaders to take pictures with.  Just like last year she had no fear going to these girls and boys and getting her picture taken!
We made our way to the floor of Bud Walton, where there were different lines for different groups of players.  Like I said, we got there pretty late and people were just mingling around, including the players!
This picture is HILARIOUS!  This guy is HUGE!!!!!  Like twice my size!  Hopefully his size translates to awesomeness on the field!! We'll have to watch for him!
And my favorite picture, of course, is with Sara Kate and the cheerleaders.  She went right to them, they let her hold their pom poms, and she just beamed!
Right after this picture, she looked over my shoulder and started screaming bloody murder.  Of course, the Razorback mascot was coming down the stairs.  I've mentioned it before, but she is TERRIFIED of any kind of mascot....the ones at the zoo, the cow at Chick-Fil-A, and of course the Razorback mascot.  I hid her head in my shoulder and turned her the other way to distract her, and about that time a sweet cheerleader came over and gave her her pom poms.  I thought that was so sweet.  She wasn't too interested at that moment, but as soon as we got out of there she was loving them!  Mama may be more excited about it right now, but I know she will grow to appreciate stuff like that!!
I love living in a college town, being able to go to things like this, and being able to have these experiences with Sara Kate.  Since this is our second year, maybe we'll make a tradition out of it!  Go Hogs!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Working Mama Series - My Guest Post

My friend Melissa over at Stafford Stories is doing a blog series on working mom's.  I was asked to participate so yesterday I did my very first guest blog!  Yay!  It's so interesting to read about other working moms and how every family makes things work.  I thought I'd repost my post here for ya'll to read.  Go check out Melissa's blog also; she's having guest mama bloggers on Monday's and Wednesday's and the series runs through September.

Hi! I'm Kristen!
I'm wife to Chris...
Mommy to our very busy, strong willed, independent, smart, and beautiful 3 year old daughter, Sara Kate...
And we are the Michaels family!
Even though we only have one child, our life is busy!! My husband is a teacher and I work in Bentonville, Arkansas, in the field of environmental science. My work day is 8:00-4:30, and I have a dreadful 45 minute commute. Our day goes a little something like this...

I am NOT a morning person so I try to do as much prep work as I can the night before. I get Sara Kate's milk ready, her clothes picked out, lunches made, my water bottle filled, and an idea of what I'm going to wear done every night before we go to bed so I don't have to do any of that in the mornings. I try to get up by 5:45 but usually it's closer to 6, and I immediately get in the shower and start getting dressed. Sara Kate used to be a late riser, but right around the time she turned 3 she started getting up earlier and earlier. She could get up anywhere between 5:45-6:45.  When she gets up Chris (or I) gets her milk out of the fridge, we give her a breakfast bar, waffle, or Pop Tart, and she sits down to watch a movie or tv show on the iPad while we are getting ready. After I'm dressed, it's time to get her dressed. Like I said, I pick out her clothes the night before but I give her a couple of options.  She has become quite opinionated and it helps get her dressed quicker if she has a say in what she is wearing. If Chris is home he is a big help in dressing her, otherwise it's just she and I. If I'm going to be on time for work, we have to be out the door by 7:10...5 minutes makes a world of difference in the morning traffic! 
I drop her off at school around 7:30 and hopefully I'm at work at 8. Thankfully I have flexibility with my job so if I'm a little late it's no big deal. I work until 4:30, but sometimes I stay until 4:45 or 5:00 to stash back some overtime. I pick Sara Kate up on the way home, and we are home between 5:30 and 6:15, depending on when I leave work.
It is very important to us to eat dinner as a family. Because of my commute, a lot of the dinner prep falls on Chris. I'm very thankful for him stepping up and doing most of the cooking, even though I do get home in time to cook some meals. He grills a lot in the summer, and I'm also a big fan of the crock pot! We do lots of crock pot meals, which I prepare the night before. After dinner we have play time with Sara Kate. Some of her favorite activities include reading books, puzzles, and coloring, but her most favorite thing to do is to be outside.  Most of our play time involves taking walks, riding her bicycle, playing on her swing set, playing with sidewalk chalk, or playing at our neighborhood playground. 
Bath time begins between 8:00-8:15, and she is in bed around 9:00. 
I wish she went to bed a little sooner so I had more time in the evenings to spend with Chris or do things around the house, but at the same time, because I am a working mom, the window of time between after dinner and her bed time is so narrow I really don't have that much play time with her. It's a catch-22. After she goes to bed Chris and I hang out, maybe watch a show on tv, sometimes I blog, and I get things ready for the next day. I'm usually in bed between 10-10:30. 

As far other household chores, I always do all the laundry on Sunday. But if something comes up during the week that needs to be washed, I'll do that when the need arises. A huge weight off my shoulders is cleaning. Last year for my birthday, Chris got me a cleaning lady. We found a sweet girl who cleans some other friends houses and she comes to our house every other Friday. I thought it would just be for a few months but Chris plays music every Friday night and gets paid for it so we've managed to keep her in the budget. I feel bad about it sometimes, like I'm not doing some kind of wifely duty. It's a luxury for sure, but I really really appreciate not having to do deep heavy cleaning. Even though we have someone clean for us, clutter drives me nuts. We always clean up Sara Kate's toys before bed, the dishes are always done, and the kitchen is clean. I also vacuum regularly to pick up the dog hair that accumulates. 

Time with Chris is something we really have to work on. 
He gets really busy during the school year but that's the nature of his job. Thankfully his mom and dad live in town and can watch Sara Kate every now and then so we can go out. We get lots of good quality time together in the summers, too.  During the fall, we have regular 'dates' on game days to watch Razorback football. We also get to hang out with friends on game days too. Getting together with friends isn't something we do regularly, but we try to have dinner get togethers or play dates with friends and their kids when we can.
That's a little glimpse into my life as a working mom.  It's certainly busy, but I wouldn't change it.  I love that Melissa does this series so we can see how other working moms make it work!  Feel free to follow our little life on my blog ( or follow me on Instagram (kristen912) or Twitter (@kmmichaels)!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Family Beach Pictures

I promise this will be my last post about the beach but I had to share these awesome pictures.  We did the obligatory 'beach pictures.'  We loved sitting on the balcony and seeing all the families go down to the sand and shore line in their white and khaki or jeans.  We are not a white family!  I don't think I own much of anything that's white and I don't trust a busy 3 year old in white, ha!!  So instead of white, we went with the blue color scheme, and I think our pictures turned out fantastic!!  Maybe I'm partial to the cute 3 year old in the adorable ocean smocked dress that we had to bribe with ice cream to get through the photo shoot. :-) 
 Sara Kate is really into us making 'funny faces' when we take pictures so we do it and she loves it!  When she wants to make a funny face we always say 'smile pretty first then we will make a funny face!'  See the picture above?  Works every time, haha!
Sara Kate loves her Ghee and Poppa!!
 Wish my brother and sister in law were with us in this picture.
This may be one of my all time favorite pictures of me and Sate Kate!  My favorite place with my favorite!!
This is a great shot of my parents.  Again, we are so thankful to them for giving us the opportunity to go to the beach for the week.
And Chris captured a couple of candid shots without me knowing seeing these sweet moments.
And that my friends wraps up my posts about the beach!  Stay tuned my first time to guest blog and for a look back at some other summer fun!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chris' Birthday

I am very jealous of the timing of my husband's birthday.  Like I said before, the beach is my happy place.  I love being at a pool or lake.  I'm just a water person.  But my birthday falls in September, a week or two after Labor Day.  As a kid I hated the timing of my birthday because I always wanted a pool party but my birthday fell after the pool had closed for the season.  Chris, on the other hand, has a summer birthday, and that lucky boy got to celebrate his birthday while we were at the beach!
Sara Kate made a special birthday present for her daddy and we brought it with us so he had fun presents to open.  As for the how-to on this little project, I bought letter stickers at Hobby Lobby, stuck them to a canvas, let her paint the canvas (which started with brushes then ended up with her hands), then peeled off the letters.  The letters stuck and were hard to get off, but I thought the finished product turned out really cute, and she was so proud of her 'paint.'
After a fun morning on the beach, we cleaned up and went out to have a little fun!
We went and rode Go Karts and played Putt-Putt!! :-)
We went and ate a yummy seafood dinner before going back to the condo, eating a very random cake my dad was kind enough to go get...fruit cake...haha...
 Then we headed back to the beach to look for crabs.  Sara Kate had been talking about seeing crabs all summer.  We found one...see it??  I'm not sure she was too impressed with the little guy, haha!
I hope Chris had a fun birthday while we were in Orange Beach.  But as a belated surprise, I planned a little get together without his knowledge...
We had a fun group of friends join us for a little dinner get together last night at one of his favorite restaurants, Sassy's Redhouse.  If you're an NWA local, check it out!!
You can't have a party in Fayetteville without a birthday cake from Rick's!! :-)
I hope the birthday boy had a fun extended celebration!!  We're thankful our friends came out to celebrate with us last night, and we're glad my parents got to celebrate with us at the beach!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Beach Vacation

Hello!!  Despite the unintentional blog break, we're still here!  I have so much to write about, all kinds of things that have been going on this summer, but I thought I'd start at the obvious place...vacation!!  Last week we had an amazing trip down to Orange Beach, Alabama.  When I was a kid we would vacation at Navarre Beach, Florida, and I haven't been back on a 'beach vacation' since those days.  Sure we've spent a day here and there at the beach while visiting friends, but this was a first for us.  A family trip to the beach for a week.  The beach is my happy place so I was beyond ready for this trip.  Sara Kate found out back in June and just about every day she would get so excited and say 'we're going to the beach tomorrow??'  And my standard response was, 'No baby, at the end of July.'  So we made her a calendar and daily she colored a day so she could track when we were going.  All she could talk about was seeing crabs (she talked about that alot for some reason!), play in the sand, and swim, and I don't think our trip disappointed her.  We did see crabs, we did swim, we did play in the sand, and we also went to a little zoo, celebrated Chris' birthday, and even saw dolphins from our balcony!  I'll try not to go overboard with pictures, but Chris captured some great images while we were there so I have quite a bit to share. :-) 
The view from our balcony.
We greased ourselves up pretty good every day and thankfully managed to get very little sunburn (spray sunscreen is amazing!!!).  The top of Sara Kate's head got red the first day because she wouldn't wear her hat and Chris got a little red on his back and lower stomach, but thankfully we ended up with very little red and a good bit of brown! :-)
I didn't get to sit back and relax much, as Sara Kate wanted me in the water with her or in the sand with her, but I sure loved relaxing in a chair with my toes in the sand and an ice cold beer in my hand!
One morning Chris had to stay in the room to wait on a call from his principal but he sat on the balcony and snapped some pictures, unbeknownst to me!
Sara Kate loved walking on the beach and sitting in the surf finding shells.  We came back with a huge bag of shells, and I even found a shark tooth in the sand!
Shark tooth
She loved playing in the sand with her sand toys.  We attempted to build several castles, but we did a terrible job.  Sand castle building is not my forte. :-)
I'm not sure what she liked more, the sand or the ocean, but we spent ALOT of time in the water.  'Mommy, come swim with me!'  The first couple of days the ocean was really rough and we got knocked over by several waves, but the last 2 days it was so calm and clear and the tide was low so we could swim out quite a ways and just float.  Perfect!
Our beach trip was great.  Lots of sun, sand, and swimming, and some wonderful memories made.  We're so thankful to my parents for the opportunity, but we missed my brother and sister in law.  Hopefully we can all join in the fun next summer.