by gillian claire: family life



back to school // to do list!

back to school.( photo from this post, last year! )
     School starts in two weeks, so we're soaking up the last couple weeks of summer but also getting things a little bit prepared for the school year. I'm looking forward to more routine in our lives but I am not looking forward to getting up early in the morning or the whining that will ensue each day as we attempt to wake up sleepy bear Roman who is also not a morning person. I will also be missing him for sure!
     I wanted to document my to-do list here for what I want to be accomplish in the next couple of weeks to get ready for the school year! Most of these things have to do with Roman, because Asher will be doing preschool at home with us for now. I was actually able to cross a few things off already this weekend - yah!
Back to School To Do List
*Make sure Roman's closet is school-ready*

- buy socks  purchased a pack at Old Navy

- buy a few tee shirts I bought Roman a few shirts during the Old Navy clearance sale. I also found one in the closet that I bought last summer at the end of season and had stashed away! Roman and Asher both have several new tee shirts from the companies that we work with on the blog and on Instagram!

find a couple more pairs of shorts I found two pairs of shorts today at Old Navy; one nicer pair and one pair of athletic shorts. I paid less that $8 combined for both!

- buy new gym shoes Roman and Asher both got new blue Nike shoes today at Famous Footwear. ( They are having a buy one get one 1/2 off sale! ) Roman really wanted Nike shoes this year for school and Aaron promised the boys he would buy them some since he just got a promotion at work. We had a lot of fun picking them out and have definitely never spent so much on kid's shoes or even ever bought them shoes at a shoe store in general!  We had to buy Asher some to be fair of course but honestly it was worth it to see him running down the aisles at the store impressed by how fast his shoes were!

*Hair cuts for both boys* ( I have a coupon for Cost Cutters for $2 off )

*Get supply list and purchase back to school supplies* ( I'm planning to go to Target because back to school shopping at Walmart just depresses me, end of story. )

*Make sure our kitchen is well stocked for school lunch making*

- buy ziplock bags, paper napkins, disposable silverware, a few more pieces of tupperware + ice packs ( We definitely need to restock these items and I feel like it will make the school year much less stressful to start out with them on hand! )

- potentially look for new water bottles for both boys ( We don't really have any good ones right now and I'd love for the boys to each have a nicer one for going to the park and walks as well! Do you all have any suggestions for good water bottles for kids that are durable, non toxic and don't leak?? )

- make sure the kitchen has a good supply of lunch foods + snacks! ( Packing lunches is always stressful because we always seem to be scrambling for ideas at the last minute! )

*Sign Roman up for soccer* ( This boy is soccer obsessed and we found a place to sign him up for the fall! )

*Look for activities for Asher to do in the mornings* ( We want Asher to have some fun activities to do while Roman is at school and to get him out to socialize and be engaged in learning! )


I feel like I'm probably forgetting something important but I'm hoping that these things will get us off to a good start!
Have you started on your back to school preparations yet? What's on your list??

We Are A Top Baby Blog

june so far.

just a little update on what we've been up to this past month :)kansasskyjuneroman had his last day of kindergarten! ( water day ) i died with sadness at how big he is getting. :(
// we headed out to ohio that very same day after some car troubles that turned out to just be a drained battery. kansas sunsets are amazing! we took turns driving and drove straight through, 20 hours, without stopping for anything besides gas + food.ohioroadtripjunei didn't take many instagram photos in the midwest, but this is one of my favorite pictures: my littlest sister + my namaw and papaw in front of their house! i'm so glad that we got to spend 2 different days visiting with them; i love and miss them so much.
// after a couple weeks in ohio / indiana, we headed back. this photo is of asher sleeping somewhere on the road trip home. sleeping babies are by far the best kind of road tripping babies...kansasroadtripjuneon the way to ohio we drove through some pretty scary storms. on the way back, however, the storms in kansas were way too big of a deal to drive through. we saw the craziest lightening ever and threatening storm warnings were all over the radio. we stopped at a few hotels which were all booked and were told that all of the hotels were filled up until we found ONE room left in this crappy motel!
i was so thankful that we could get off the road but it was kind of a bummer having to shell out money for one bed in a smoky scented room only to stay up super late watching for tornadoes.
( ok, i was the only one staying awake, but seriously how could i sleep? )
// i love the colors of this truck wash in salina, ks. this is at my favorite  little stop on the drive - we have good memories here from our many road trips. :)targetroadtripjunegas station break! // stocking up at target for essentials when we got home.rockymountainsparkjuneour first visit to the big playground near our house this season. i love taking my kids to the park and getting this view! living here is awesome.  fortcollinsblogjunewe have been taking lots of neighborhood walks! also, we found a nice free stroller on the side of the road which has been a nice addition since we didn't bring ours out to colorado when we moved.
quick story: we had this stroller sitting outside of our condo one day and it disappeared. turns out that our neighbor took it thinking we were "getting rid of it" for some reason. still not sure of the logic behind that, but he returned it after thoroughly cleaning it so i guess we win in the end!
 // little boys checking the mail.fakidsreviewjuneplaying on the balcony one evening. both of my boys love dressing up, they are so much fun! they've been... dare i say playing together a little better lately??
// roman's new FabKids outfit came in the mail! always a happy day when that happens. :)
(affiliate link used)coloradomountainsjun i definitely missed these mountains while we were away. these are the foothills behind our house at sunset. i have never actually been homesick for a place until i moved here.
love, love, love colorado. <3 <3
( photos from instagram: are you following me?? @bygillianclaire )
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IMG_6786IMG_6774IMG_6790oh this little boy is driving me wild lately.
absolutely wild.
does that seem to be a reoccurring theme on my blog lately?
well, it is a reoccurring theme in my life; that's for sure.
 asher's needs and passions and feelings are strong and sudden.
they are loud and angry and fervent and tirelessly exhausting.
but with the wild, there always comes good.
yesterday, out of nowhere, asher snapped out of one of his tantrums in the car and he looked at me with his turned down eyes and sighed, " i sowwy mommy, i sowwwwy."
 it was heartbreaking to see his little soul take a breath and voice what he feels in his heart.
i know that his tantrums and actions pain him as well.
and today, after an all out furious tantrum, he apologized again,
 "i sorry mommy."
and then he promptly invented a new ridiculous smile that he flashed to us all.
and we all laughed and smiled back.
and he said, "i happy! i happy!"
asher delights in love and affection and when he gets the attention that he craves - he beams with true appreciation and joy.
this is a boy who wants to be loved more than anything.
and he is a wonderful lesson to us all, that love doesn't always come easy.
and it shouldn't.
or it wouldn't really be worth nearly as much in the end.
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pictures of cows.

we were driving around the reservoir over the weekend, looking for new spots. and first of all, let me just say that i was so dang happy to get a picture of those cows. i have been thinking about taking pictures of cows for years. no really, i'm not just saying that.
many times as i drove home to our house in indiana, i would look at all of the cows that i passed and think about taking photos of them. indiana is full of so much pretty scenery: old barns, endless soybean and corn fields, pretty hazy sunsets and wildflowers. and there are so many cows. they truly became my favorite animal when we lived out there.
but i never took the moment to get the pictures that i wanted. i'm really bad about that; just stopping and getting out of the car to take a photograph. i'm too lazy i suppose.
and frankly, it never seems worth it.
but this day. the other day, when i saw these black cows grazing in the hills like this, i finally had aaron pull over the car and i rolled down the window and i got it. it was just too, too perfect. because if there is anything better than cows grazing in the fields of indiana, it is certainly cows in the mountains. hands down.
asher was stressing out in the backseat and roman was yelling at me and i had one of those mother-fail moments where i snapped for a moment.
and i just told everyone in the family to get used to it.
sometimes i'm going to hang out the window when it's 20 degrees out to take a picture of the creek by the mountains. and sometimes i'm going to ask aaron to turn the car around so that i can get a picture of the orange and aqua sunset even though everyone is tired and wants to get home. in times like these, little boys are sure to squeal at me from the backseat.
but gosh darn it, sometimes i'm going to pull over the car and take a picture of some cows.
and it's going to make me very happy.
oh, and my family is cute too. they forgave me and then i snuck in some pictures of them as well ;)

kindergarten, first day.

we just finished our first week of homeschool at our house!
this is roman's third year of homeschooling. i did two years of preschool with him at home and now to my amazement, he has somehow gone and become a wonderful, happy, round-faced kindergartener! we always wait until after labor day to start school, which i love because i'm not even ready to consider the thought of summer ending until at least september!
we have started off the first day of school the same each of these three years. i have roman color a sign  and take a first day of school pictures. of course, we always include asher who has so far completed "baby school" and two years of "toddler school" ;)
i also have roman draw a self-portrait and write his name. then i trace his hand and i have done the same first day of school interview with him all three years. it has been so fun to compare each year and see how he has grown and changed!
it's very strange to feel the years passing by through this ritual. i still remember so clearly roman's first day of preschool at 3, when asher was still a tiny newborn in his little white jammies sucking away on his paci while we made play-doh.
it has been such a blessing to stay home and be with my boys everyday and to teach them and care for them. it has definitely not always been easy especially with our wild spirited child by our side constantly trying to undo any and all school progress.
but it is indeed a blessing, to see my little roman's face light up on the first day of kindergarten with the most genuine smile in the world.
peeking out of the covers saying, "is it school day mommy??"
and to know that i don't have to pack him up and ship him off, just yet.
these boys are my heart and i feel so happy and blessed to be able to have them home with me. ;)
i went back and found our first day of school photos from last year to compare. and here are some photos from where we were this time 2 years ago!

lucky enough.

"if you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you're lucky enough."
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happy thoughts.

some happy thoughts of late:
IMG_3525-2IMG_3531the sweet things about this little boy:
when he plays "baby",
when he acts all dramatically adorable during the times when he actually lets me photograph him,
early mornings when he is all sticky sweet and rolls all over me squeaking, "hi mama"s at me.
when he is sad in his car seat and all he wants is to "cuggle" (cuddle) and kiss and hug.
dipfinding old mama/baby photos like these.
photo shoots that turn out all dreamy and wonderful.
IMG_4685-2freshly washed baby hair and finally fitting into a thrifted treasure that i bought for him when i still couldn't imagine him ever growing this big.
IMG_4686-2IMG_4687-2many mountain adventures with these guys. :)
an early morning starbucks and cloudy park date with my littles.
IMG_3739-2soft skin, natural light, his favorite shirt.
IMG_4708-3roman taking to heart and showing off to us after i keep telling him how adventurous he is.
IMG_3808-2and these brothers, of course. always trying to make me grow as a person, even when i don't feel up for it. :)
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life right now / july update.

wow, i can't believe that we are already halfway through august! sheesh.
just a little recap on life right now for us since my last little update of our roadtrip here!
we found a condo super quickly and were miraculously able to move in right away since the property was vacant and the previous owner let us rent from her until the closing.
so basically, we left ohio on the 4th of july and we were in our new home on july 15th!
i actually really did not expect, obviously, to find something so fast. the plan was to stay with my grandparents while we looked for a place which i figured would at least take a month. however, we were very thankful and relieved to find a place of our own so quickly and start settling down!
here are some photos to share a little bit of what happened around here to finish up our crazy-fun-getting rid of most of our belongings-moving across the country-and finding a new home july!
aaron + roman on the rock climbing structure at the park near our house. ( i know, i know you thought it was a real mountain, right? ) we love this park and have spent a lot of time there! // love this guy who i met 13 years ago in july at church camp! // the boys at the trail near the foothills by our house // asher sleeping after a fun time swimming at my grandparents' country club
i adore this photo of asher.
i'm also loving all the sunflowers around here.
my view of the mountains + lake on a drive near our house // foothill hikes // more playground fun // asher loves carrying his own backpack now, and it's simply adorable of course
focoblog3 copy
little ash on his birthday morning. what a darling little sunshine he is // coffee everyday in my "new" thrifted mug // clothes drying from the splash park ( also at the park near our house! ) // new wonderful colorful pottery barn mugs - FREE from craigslist!
and while i'm on the topic of criagslist... let me just profess my love.
have you checked out the free section? it is amazing! we used to check the free section on craigslist in our old town but there was hardly anything ever posted. here however, the free section is crazy full of all kinds of things! who knew so many people were getting rid of so much stuff and are willing to give it away to anyone who might be able to use it? we pretty much outfitted our kitchen as you can see. we also got a really nice, perfectly clean toaster oven. a printer. a bike.
and... a mattress and boxspring! i am seriously totally into thrifting and buying second hand but have claimed that i would never get a second hand mattress or couch. however, i now own both. and it feels great. we bought a really fantastic brand new looking microfiber loveseat from a thrift store and we got a twin mattress/boxspring from craigslist. the thing is with mattresses is that you of course have to be careful and very picky. the mattress we got came from a very clean house and the man we met was super nice! it is seriously such a thrill for aaron and i to find creative ways to find things for our life + home. it is such a good feeling to put things to good use while also saving landfills and not adding to consumerism.
also, we found our condo on craigslist! so, i'm just saying - it's awesome.
so handsome with his new haircut // playing at the library
more hiking at the foothills!
i have seen SO many rainbows here since we moved // my littlest + me :)
also, thanks for your votes on top baby blogs! happy wednesday!
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