Friday, September 11, 2020

Ellie’s first day of school September 2020

 2020 is the year where nothing makes sense.

This school year is not what we envisioned back in February when I filled out Ellie’s enrollment paperwork or March when she was sent home or even June with the hopes of returning to school. 

But here we are doing a hybrid of Homeschooling (with The Good and The Beautiful curriculum) and Digital Learning through her school district. She’s in good spirits and able to go with the flow. 

We started a few days ago working in the Schoolhouse (more to come) on our homeschooling and now she’s officially started 2nd grade with her digital classroom. I’ve got my strong feelings about all of this and the challenges this new platform of learning (that I don’t feel will be serving our kids well) but will keep them mostly to myself and encourage Ellie to have fun and learn. We have some things we need to figure out: like what to do with Finnley & Séamus but I’m sure we will find our groove.

Our day started off with some technical difficulties, which further proved the errors of this system, but we were able to overcome them and improvise.  Some emotions got hot and I made sure to add some extra Stress Away to our diffuser and an extra couple of swipes of our rollers.

So here’s to second grade and hopes a return to the classroom happens this year 

XOxo, Ashley 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Séamus is TWO

How the heck did this happen? Birthdays are still weird this year with all the crazy of the world and I sure hope this is the last one in our family that is like this. We are so ready for life to be open again.

Our sweet wild boy is TWO! I’m still in disbelief that he’s here and real. He keeps us on our toes and is constantly getting into something. He is fearless (except when it comes to goats) and we cannot take our eyes off of him.

He has so many words to say, still loves to nurse, and sleeps through the night for the most part. He is all parts obsessed with Toy Story and it feels like we’ll be watching those movies through the end of time. He’s quite adventurous with his eating, loves to take baths, and is constantly asking for oils.

Some favorite words:

Bites = Vitamins
Wollo = Roller
Baf = Bath
Coop = Cooper
Kari = Sakari
Booboos = Boobies
Elyee = Ellie
Dat = Finnley
Oyols = Oils
Bubrees = Blueberries or Strawberries 
Bapple = Apple
Toot = Toothbrush 
Wishys = Fish Crackers

Some of his favorite foods/drinks:

Meat, just about any kind

We celebrated his birthday at home, just the five of us. We spent most of the day outside, let the kids play in our truck full of soil, and enjoyed dinner and cake for dessert. Super low key. We reminisced how last year we were able to go to the park and splash pad and dream about getting to do that next year. 

Sweet Séamus we love you so much!

Happy Second Birthday my boy!

XOxo. Ashley 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Summer Road Trip - Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota

 Nothing is going to stop us from making this summer as normal as we could.  Most of our travel plans got cancelled, but a road trip was something that we could still make happen - and so we did.  I have to tell you that it was the perfect decision and was so so good for our mental health.

 We started in Washington and drove to South Dakota with stops along the way.  The kids did great in the car and thanks to our trusty traveling oils we all slept well and had a great time.

 Our first stop was in Couer d'Alene Idaho at the park for the kids to get some wiggles out.  I was completely blown away at Finnley's bravery and utter JOY at seeing other kids and wanting to play with them.  Ellie was completely in her element with other kids around and finally getting to play with others again.  Séamus was also thrilled at all the new and exciting climbing structures and freedom to run and get his pent up energy out.  Oh how we knew but had no idea how much our children needed socialization.

Next was a quick potty break at St. Regis MT to grab our beloved Huckleberry Ice Cream and Shakes.  The gift shop is adorable and has lots of fun things for the kiddos.  Definitely something to include in your itinerary if you're driving through Montana.

We made it to our first hotel destination in Butte, with time to settle in and then head out to dinner at MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill, & Pub.  The kids were a little out of there element being in a restaurant again 😜 but we managed.

Traveling looks just a little bit different than it did several years ago.  I now bring all my safe toxin free and chemical free toiletries with me.  We no longer use any of the hotel provided amenities...i did however look at the list of ingredients and 😳 wow were they full of toxins!!!  We also brought along our cutie little Feather the Owl Diffuser with us and it was perfection! Sound machine and diffuser in one meant one less thing for us to pack.  We brought several of our daily rollers with us: immune support, emotional support, seasonal support, and head/muscle tension support along with oils for the diffuser for mood and sleep.

We drove around Butte the following day and saw some beautiful houses and then stopped at the coolest park ever, Ellie still talks about going back to it.  It was huge and had so many different climbing structures and things to do.  We were there bright and early and were the only ones there.  I only got one picture at the park so you're just going to have to take my word for it.

We made the trek to our first main destination Yellowstone National Park.  We didn't go into the park today but did take our entrance photos.  Then we had dinner, back to the hotel for a swim in the pool and then ready for our day of driving through the park the next day.  So many beautiful sights, the bison were out a plenty, Old Faithful did as she does, and the kids did great in the car.

Our second main destination was The Battle of Little Bighorn, somehow we managed to visit on the anniversary day of the actual battle, but due to Covid they didn't have anything happening as they usually do.  The day was hot, the kids loved checking it out, and Thomas was absolutely thrilled with this experience and I loved that he got to share it with his main 3.

We stayed the night in Sheridan, Wyoming and it was an adorable town.  Finnley got brave enough to get in the pool, Ellie was crazy jumping in and splashing, and we ordered takeout from a local restaurant - it was delicious but they were definitely struggling with their service due to all the lame covid restrictions - I feel so bad for these small businesses.

Next stop was Deadwood on the way to Rapid City, South Dakota.  The town was fun to walk through, we had a delicious meal at The Social Club, the kids found some friends in the square where they played and played and squealed and were just enjoying life.  We were once again reminded of how great this trip was for our children and their mental was good for us too, to get to experience bits and pieces of normal.

And then we finally made it to our final destination: Rapid City, South Dakota to see Mt Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument.  RC has theeee best kids park, Storybook, which is practically downtown is free admission and several acres of play space and storybook characters to check out and explore!

We met up with my Dad in Rapid City.  Turns out that South Dakota was the only state he hasn't visited and when we told him of our summer travel plans he jumped at the chance to join us.  He flew in the day before us, rented a car, and drove out to The Badlands.  Then he joined us on our Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse journey and it was so great to have the extra bonding time for him and the kids.

After sightseeing the very Main Attractions of our travel we got to explore more of Rapid City and it is so pedestrian friendly and kid friendly too.  So many parks and places for the kids.  The weather was fantastic and they had the splash pad open which was the hightlight of the trip.

The next morning we said goodbye to my dad and made our way West back towards Washington.  We stopped in Bozeman on the way home.  Thomas went fishing in the rain (the only day it rained on our whole trip), I went into a few antique stores,  and we were met with our very first major Covid restriction at the hotel: only one family allowed in the pool at a time, you had to make reservations, and we got a noise complaint at 3pm 😑. 

Then back to Washington where the restrictions just kept coming. No pools, no splash pads, mandatory masks, parks "closed", and rights taken away.  We were heading back to reality and so so thankful that we had a chance to experience just a tiny slice or normalcy for a few days on our trip.  We stopped and had visits with both of the girls birthmom's to round off our vacation, something they were both very much looking forward to.

We had a fantastic trip and are pretty sure that most of our upcoming travels will be via road trip.

XOxo, Ashley