Tuesday, February 9, 2016

5th Birthday Interview: Abigail Rose

Abby was born second, so she is next up for her birthday interview. Unlike last year, where she got bored halfway though, she thought answering questions this year was the greatest game, and she was so pleased to finish the list!

 Abigail Rose

Abby is our little social butterfly who has a flair for the dramatic. She's always dressing up in costumes and pretending she is a princess, a fairy, or some other imaginative being. She's always been our quirky kid, and we absolutely love that her quirkiness gives her a zest for life that passes all of the others. It also means that her moods like to swing high and low and give us a run for our money at times. ha! She definitely wins in the manners department and puts her siblings to shame with her usage of "thank you, please, yes sir" etc. Abby is pure delight for us, and we hope she never loses the sparkle that follows her around!

How old are you? "Four" (We have been counting down to Five since last summer. Lol!)
What makes you happy? "Eating Food" (Not sure where this is coming from! This child is so picky, it's ridiculous. A more accurate answer would be, "eating one of three items that I enjoy." Sheesh! She is all about the carbs: bread, crackers, and cupcakes.)
What is your favorite animal? "Lamby" (Her lamb stuffed animal from the Doc McStuffins show, aptly named, 'Lamby.')
What is your favorite color? "Pink!....Yellow!...Purple!"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "Doughnuts" (Last year, her answer was cupcakes. So we went from cake....to fried cake. I see a common theme here.)
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Macaroni and Cheese" (Abby has a lot of sensory eating issues, so she has a lot of least favorite things. We find a new one at each meal. Lol!)
What is your favorite thing to do? "Play at the kitchen" (The play kitchen is a favorite toy with all of our kids!)
What is your favorite TV show? "Princess Shows" (mostly Sophia the First, but anything involving a princess is fair game)
What is your favorite movie? "Anna and Elsa" (I don't even have to provide commentary on this one)
What are you really good at? "I'm really good at toys!.....playing!"
What is your favorite song? "Little Bo Peep" (the nursery rhyme set to song)
What do you and your mom do together? "Get some food and then we can eat it back at home. Get some groceries and then take the back home."
What do you and your dad do together? "Get married. Play the puzzle game." (We are having a hard time convincing her that she can't marry her daddy)
What is your favorite book? "Little Star Sheeps" (I'm still not sure which book this is even after asking her to go get it....)

What is your favorite toy? "Ballerina" (she has a ballerina doll and likes to dress up like a ballerina so it could be either or both of those)
What do you want to be when you grow up? "A doctor wearing a purple dress who has a rainbow house and a sister baby!" (She is absolutely set on accomplishing ALL of this and talks about it constantly!)

I have to add this photo as an extra note to the bottom of her interview. I pulled this envelope with the card in it out of her backpack on Monday afternoon when she got home from school. It's the first Valentine's Day card she has made for me and the first time she has ever written my name. Yes, I cried a little bit. This has been the highlight of my week, and I'm cherishing such a wonderful gift from my sparkly fairy princess!

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

5th Birthday Interview: Caleb Sean

A favorite tradition is conducting birthday interviews with the kids! Their birthday is on February 23rd, but since we have so many of them (hehe!) we have to start interview a couple of weeks early to get through everyone. 

Caleb is our oldest by a whole minute, so he is first up! As I was asking the interview questions this afternoon, I was so grateful again for all of the progress he has made since last summer. When we did his 4th birthday interviews, he couldn't verbalize all of his answers, so I filled in a lot of them. This year, he had no trouble answering all of them, and was actually delighted to be able to participate! Anyone with a kid with special needs knows how important these small, but significant moments are in the journey to helping them succeed in life!
 Caleb Sean
Caleb is so focused and rather obstinate at times. We are still helping him learn to use words over actions to express frustration, and how to cope with sensory overload using tools that he's been given. We are delighted every time we see his brain unlock a little more, and we are convinced that he has picked up on more academics than he lets on! Amazing progress for our little guy with autism!

How old are you? "Five" (Almost buddy. Just a couple more weeks!)
What makes you happy? "Caleb and birthday cake!" (I'm assuming he means Caleb eating birthday cake!)
What is your favorite animal? "Lion!!" (He was very definitely about the lion, but he came back about 10 minutes later and said, "My favorite animal is DOGGY!" His lovey is a doggy, so I'm thinking that swayed his opinion when he saw it.)
What is your favorite color? "Red" (really? Red?) "Red!!"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "Cake! Birthday Cake!" (the kids can't think about anything else right now!)
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "McDonalds" (I phrased the question as, "what do you NOT like to eat? What is yucky?" We've told them that McDonalds is yucky to get out of going there, but he very much likes it actually. I couldn't get him to come up with something he truly disliked at that point though.)
What is your favorite thing to do? "Watch a show and play with some toys."
What is your favorite TV show? "Mario!" (Yep, the 1989 version of Super Mario Bros on Netflix. Sean gets the credit for introducing that show.)
What is your favorite movie? "Hello Kitty and Between the Lions" (He may have been slightly influenced in his first answer by the Hello Kitty coloring book that Ellie left sitting right next to him.)
What are you really good at? "Circus....and good at school" (We've been working on how he expresses himself at school, so he gets high praise for obedience and listening to his teacher. Which translates to that he was good at school. He has been doing really well over the last few weeks, so I think it's working!)
What is your favorite song? "We Will Rock You" (by Queen)
What do you and your mom do together? "We help together"
What do you and your dad do together? "Daddy helps Legos get better" (um....maybe this means that Daddy helps them fix the Legos so that they look like a building again?)
What is your favorite book? "Dinosaur and Friends"

What is your favorite toy? "Transformers"
What do you want to be when you grow up? "CAPTAIN HOOK!!" He is absolutely convinced that he wants to grow up to be Captain Hook! LOL!

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fall Photo Shoot for Christmas Cards! (Updated Photos of the Kids!)

I decided that this year, I wanted to spring for professional photos taken outside in the peak of fall foliage for our Christmas cards. So in true, plan-ahead fashion, I waited until we actually reached fall to call a photographer friend and try to get a photo slot.

Apparently, it doesn't work that way. Ha!

So, my grand plan of professional photos did not work this year since it seems fall is the favorite time of year for family photos to be taken. I made a mental note to book a time slot by July if I want an October photo date next year. ;)

Then I asked one of my brothers to help me out by taking a few family snapshots for us. We set a day in late October....and then our kids brought home a nasty virus from school. So we canceled that.

THEN, the Royals won the World Series! Why is that worth mentioning? Because a couple of days later, Kansas City pretty much shut down for the Royals World Series Victory Parade (or whatever it's official title is). Even the kids' school district closed for the day so that everyone could head downtown and enjoy the parade.

Now, I don't know about y'all, but taking four 4-year-olds downtown to see a parade with 800,000 other people (literally, that many people) by myself seemed like the worst possible idea on the planet. Instead, I told the kids to get their shoes on because we were going to the park for pictures. Then I grabbed a bag of Skittles to bribe them into cooperating, Yes, I am the mom who keeps Skittles on hand for bribes when absolutely necessary. Photos for the Christmas card qualified as necessary.

330 photos later (thank goodness for an SD card that holds a bunch of images!), this is what we came up with:

Caleb, Abby, Elijah, and Ellie

"Looking at leaves" - Abby and Ellie

"Finding their pockets" - Elijah and Caleb

Best Brothers - Caleb and Elijah

"On the Old Red Bridge" - Ellie, Caleb, Elijah, and Abby





Ellie, Elijah, Abby, and Caleb

I was so torn over which photo to use for our Christmas cards. I was trying to narrow it down between the photo on the Red Bridge, the photo above of them all holding hands while walking away, and the photo below. We finally settled on the one below because they are facing the camera and smiling. :)

And ended up with this:

Considering I'm *not* a photographer and only had Skittles as my assistant, I think it turned out pretty cute this year! I'm still hoping for a true professional shoot next year though. I'd like to get a nice updated photo of our whole family.

So with that being said....

Merry Christmas from The Ishum Family!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Halloween 2015 - Peter Pan Characters

Ellie, Abby, Elijah, and Caleb

Dressing my kids up for Halloween has admittedly become one of my favorite annual activities. :D It's hard not to enjoy taking on the project of coordinating cute kids!

Unfortunately, this may be my last year getting to do a theme with them. I have to tell you, I worked HARD to pull this year's theme off. It was easy to get Caleb and Abby on board with dressing up as Captain Hook and Tinkerbell, but the other two proved to be more difficult. It only took a little sweet talking to get Elijah on board with Peter Pan, but Ellie? She was not having the idea of some nobody named Wendy when Hello Kitty was on the table.

So we sat down, watched the classic Peter Pan movie, and discussed Wendy's role in it....and she decided that she loved the idea! Happy Mama! So we have at least this last year of coordinating, and then it's all up in the air. That's fair, I suppose. :)

I thoroughly enjoyed this (maybe last) year of doing themed costumes with the kids! And I thought this was one of our best years anyway!


Caleb has been really into the pirates lately. We have a dress up trunk that we gave to the kids for their 2nd birthday, and the kids still love playing with it! Because our kiddos are still so tiny, they can actually still get away with wearing 2T and 3T costumes in a pinch. We had a boy pirate costume in our trunk, and Caleb had been playing with that, so it was easy to ask him if he wanted a new pirate costume more his size.

In past years, I've always at least partially made their costumes, this year, I didn't do a single thing. I've finally come to terms with my total lack of sewing skills and mediocre stitch witchery skills, so it was all store bought (with the exception of Ellie's costume!) It actually took two tries to get Caleb's costume correct. The first time I ordered it, it came in a size 12 Boy. I put it on him and he was swimming in it. Haha! It was also a really weird Captain Hook costume with way too many little pieces to tie into place, so we sent that one back and came up with this one. It came in the mail and he said, "I LOVE IT!!! I love it SOOO much!!!! Thank you, Mommy!!!"

Pure delight!!


Deep down inside, I think Abby considers herself the real Tinkerbell. It's been this way for a good year or so now. The Halloween conversation when like this:

Me: Abby? Do you want to be Tinkerbell for Halloween?
Abby: YEEEESSSSSS!!!!!! And can I wear wings????
Me: Sure! I bet we can make that happen!

And the rest is history! We bought her little sparkly fairy shoes to go with her dress. Her day was pretty much perfect!


Elijah....oh my stars. 4-years-old is such a literal age. Crack me up! After Elijah agreed to be Peter Pan (which wasn't hard) he started to work on his method acting to fully embrace the role.

One evening in mid-October, Sean and I were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, and we suddenly heard this huge THUD come from the living room. We ran around the corner to find Elijah face down, limbs splayed on our hardwood floor behind the couch. "Elijah! What happened? Are you okay?!" Elijah sadly lifted his face up off the floor and looked at us, "I can't fly."

He had apparently decided to stand on the back of the couch and LAUNCH himself off of it because since Peter Pan can fly, he needed to be able to fly as well. We had a similar tragic moment when his costume arrived without wings because.....HOW WAS HE SUPPOSED TO FLY? I think we somehow didn't fully explain the idea of "pretend", "costumes", and "imagination" to him.

And then....oh yes, Elijah's costume had a lot of drama attached to it.....and then, there was the part where the picture on the costume showed Peter Pan with a sword, yet the costume did not come with one. Neither did we own one that he could carry. Really, what kind of a mom am I? Asking this kid to be a non-flying Peter Pan with no wings or sword. Seriously, unacceptable. So in an effort to provide a "sword", I handed him the pie server that we were given for our wedding 7.5 years ago. "Here....do you want to carry this pie server as your sword?" "YES!!!!"

So Elijah carried a pie server around and flashed it at appropriate times....and I will be showing this photo and telling these stories to his future wife someday. :D


After all of my campaigning with Ellie, once I had her falling in love with the idea of being Wendy....I found out that no one makes Wendy costumes. What???? Apparently, all of the little girls want to be Tinkerbell, and Wendy just isn't high on the list of costume choices. Hmm....must be why I had to explain that character to Ellie.

So I started my hunt for a costume. First I check Etsy and found a few Wendy costumes that were WAY out of my price range. I knew we would get some mileage out of the costume in the dress up trunk....but not that much mileage. Then I decided to look for a "plain blue nightgown" or a "plain white nightgown" and just dye it blue. No luck unless I wanted a granny-style nightgown. Then I tried "vintage style blue nightgown" or "vintage style white nightgown". Then I tried going to Mennonite clothing websites to see if they had anything remotely close that was in my price range.

What I discovered is that I could find the correct CUT of a nightgown in my price range (about $20) but it was covered in licensed characters, mostly from Disney movies. Or I could find the correct plain STYLE of a nightgown, and it would cost me upwards of $70 plus shipping and a dye job.

How is it that Wendy costumes are this hard to find?! So I put it out on FaceBook, which is where I should have started, and a friend offered to whip up the simple dress above if I would go shopping for the materials for her. It was the most DARLING little dress ever! It came in the mail and Ellie simply glowed from head to toe in her perfect Wendy costume, complete with sash and hair bow. I wish I could have really caught a photo of how much she adores this dress! (Special thanks to Amanda for not only saving the day with her sewing skills, but giving Ellie a dress that she adores!)

In fact, Ellie and I love the dress so much, it didn't end up in the dress up trunk after all. I snagged it from the costume pile, and I asked Amanda if she would make a second one for Abby in a "Tinkerbell green" color so that the girls can wear these dresses as regular clothes. I wanted mileage out of their costumes? Done!

This year, we managed to make a three day event of Halloween. We must be making up for the lost years that we spend on lockdown when they were little. We started on Thursday afternoon by visiting the "Boo Fest" at Sean's work. Sprint had little booths set up around their courtyard that the kids could visit and "trick or treat" at. On Friday, we went to their preschool's Halloween Trunk or Treat. Then on Saturday, we went and had pizza with Sean's side of the family before taking them on their first real house-to-house Trick or Treating experience. We were in a safe neighborhood and only stopped by a few houses, so it worked out well. Other than the life size mechanical Angel of Death that came to life at that one neighbor's house. That was a bit....startling. But other than that, it was a fun little venture! It was also *my* first time trick or treating, so I may have had a bit more fun than normal parents do. *smile*

So there you have it! Peter Pan Costumes for the family, and I'm crossing my fingers that maybe everyone will want to theme it up again next year. But if not....I'm going to be okay with that. Still, a mama can hope, right?

Want to see previous year's costumes?
Halloween 2011: The Four Seasons

Halloween 2012: Superheroes
Halloween 2013: The Peanuts Gang
Halloween 2014: Frozen Characters

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The First Ishum Family Vacation - We Were NUTS!

A few days ago, we went to bed, and woke up to a COLD house. Somehow, the weather took a nose dive overnight, and we missed that beautiful transition from hot summer weather to cooler fall. I'm sure we will still have a few more warm days before we officially give up and embrace coats for the year, but it did leave me with two things:

1. I found myself scrambling for long sleeve shirts at 6:30am so the kids had something to wear to school.

2. I realized that if I didn't get our First Family Vacation photos up STAT, it wasn't ever going to happen. And first family vacation photos are kind of significant when you weren't allowed to leave the house for the first 2 years, am I right?

So without further ado....in July, we loaded up the kids for an absolutely NUTTY vacation idea that involved driving through 4 states, spending time with family in two different cities, and spending a total of....gosh, I think it was 43 hours of driving time in the car over a 10 day period (not counting driving time in the cities or the added time for potty breaks and food on the road). With 4-year-olds. I have to say though....it went better than it probably should have. Lol! What can I say? It was a very optimistic inaugural trip!

We started out by driving from Kansas City to Denver and stopped by the wonderful Kit Carson County Carousal in Burlington, Colorado that Ma and Pa (Sean's parents) stopped at just three weeks prior on their trip. In fact, it was one of the last things that Ma did before she unexpectedly passed, and she really enjoyed it, so it was definitely something that we wanted to stop and experience. 

It ended up being such a fun little detour! It holds the distinction of being one of the fastest antique carousals (if I remember correctly), and it was only $0.25 a ride. Definitely a budget friendly adventure for our family!
Top: Caleb and Elijah
Bottom: Abby and Ellie

We started driving to Denver EARLY that morning....like 4am-butt-crack-of-dawn-early. But what that meant was that we got into Denver that afternoon which left time for adventuring after a quick nap. We stopped by Uncle Nathan's homestead for bison burgers and popsicles and a little bit of Colorado country exploring!
Ellie, Abby, Elijah, Caleb, and Uncle Nathan

The next day we hit up the Denver Children's Museum. Definitely the most pricey thing we did on the trip, but the kids absolutely reveled in the chance to dress up and explore grownup places like a grocery store, a veterinarian's office, a fire truck, and a bubble factory without being told, "no touching!"
Ellie and Caleb

Ellie and Abby


I snapped this photo of Abby riding in the car one day in Denver. After a few hundred miles, she was tired of sitting like a normal human being. Lol!

I can't remember the name of the mountain anymore, but we took the kids on a mountain hike. It really wasn't that long. Maybe only a mile and a half or so total? There were some old castle ruins on the trail, so we took the kids up to see those. The scenery was gorgeous....but the kids didn't seem to appreciate it quite as much as we hoped. Caleb seemed to want to go the opposite direction the entire time we were on the trail....there and back. Oh well! The weather was perfect, and we got some good snapshots! We will certainly try it again the next time we make it out there!

Top: Caleb and Abby
Bottom: Elijah and Ellie

Of course, we had to stop by the Red Rocks Amphitheater while we were out there. Sean and Uncle Nathan went to a NEEDTOBREATHE concert one night while we were out there, but we took the kids by late one afternoon for a few minutes. Unfortunately, we managed to coincide that right when the general public was arriving for a Van Halen concert, so we didn't stay long. It didn't seem like it would be quite their musical style. ;)
Sean, Caleb, Ellie, Abby, Elijah, and Uncle Nathan

And then, we jumped down to Colorado Springs one morning to visit Focus on the Family and Garden of Gods.

The last time Sean and I were in Garden of the Gods was the summer after we were married. This is one of the most stunning places I've ever seen, and it was just as impressive this time around. We did manage to get our ONE family photo on the trip there. Some random guy saw our kids and jumped out of his car to try to take photos of them. I saw it happening and quickly handed him my camera and asked him to take a family photo. Our kids scattered again before he even finished taking photos with my camera. He wasn't too happy, BUT I'm not overly thrilled with strangers lining my kids up to take photos of them and then posting them.....where??? Seriously, it's ridiculous what people do. He didn't get his photos, but I got one. I'm good with that!

Oh, which reminds me of another story from Denver! Believe it or not, we were actually harassed and stalked by someone on this trip!! Like....this lady figured out what hotel we were staying in and showed up at the hotel to see our kids. Long story. I can not even begin to tell you how unnerving that is. So yeah, I'm going to be careful, and if people aren't happy about it....I'm okay with that. My kids. My rules.
Ellie, Elijah, Mommy, Abby, Daddy, and Caleb

I did get my most favorite picture on this part of the trip though! Love, love, love the way this one turned out! I only wish I was in front of the camera with my family instead of behind it! Then it would be perfect for Christmas cards!
Elijah, Ellie, Abby, Caleb, and Daddy

Anyhow, then the trip to Focus on the  Family was a total FAIL. It was a series of things that went wrong: Elijah went to the use the bathroom and didn't get himself far enough back on the toilet. We didn't have a change of clothes with us. People would NOT leave our family alone and let us look around. We are used to people gawking and asking questions, but people refusing to let us escape, even knowing we needed to take the kids to the bathroom, is what caused Elijah to hurry on the toilet and not take the time to position properly. Caleb was having a bad day. A very bad day. I think we were there for 20 minutes. It was that bad. I literally cried from Colorado Springs all.the.way. back to Denver about my horrible parenting skills, how Caleb's autism can have such a huge impact on family life, and how people can be so rude sometimes. I was really over people at this point.

If you are curious. This was a little under the halfway point in the trip. I may have told Sean that we were absolutely insane to attempt a road trip of this length with this many kids at this age. But it's all good, because moments like that are what marriages are made of. I married the best guy. He told me it isn't all pretty, but we are making memories, and we are doing it together.

The next day we got in the car and started the 9 hour drive to Las Cruces, New Mexico (read 11 hours with quadruplets) to visit my family. I snapped this highly flattering selfie on a nice stretch of desert. Lol!
Becca and Sean.....still kicking!

I'm originally from New Mexico, so the trip down there was just to spend three days visiting my extended family, **finally** introducing our kids to them, and of course, eating as much Mexican food as humanly possible before having to leave again. Yes, it involved #GoalEating. And I'm not ashamed of that.

Top: A photo with my brother Mark. We only got to see him for about 30 minutes before he went out of town!
Bottom: A photo with my cousin Brooke who was one of my best friends while growing up!

Fun selfie in the hotel room!
Abby, Caleb, Ellie, Elijah, and Mommy

I had a chance to teach my grandpa the fine art of taking a selfie and making yourself looking thinner than you really are. You have to hold the camera up higher than your face. He was all giggles! Haha!

Any chance to catch a precious photo of my littles with their great-grandpa is one that I will take! I have some cute ones from the few visits he has made to Kansas City since they were born. We will add this one to the lineup (even though a couple of kids aren't looking or have their faces covered):
Elijah, Abby, Great-Grandpa, Ellie, and Caleb

And then we headed home. As much as we enjoyed our adventures....and we really did, other than my ugly face cry on the way back from Colorado Springs.....we were definitely looking forward to our own beds. It took two days to drive the 16 hours (more like 20 hours) from Las Cruces back to Kansas City. We stopped overnight in Amarillo, TX where I realized that I'd made a mistake. In all of our travels, I had booked suites that slept six people: 2 queen sized beds and a pull-out couch. In Amarillo, we checked in and realized that we had...2 queen sized beds. It was a bit comical for one night as the room was non-refundable through the Hotels(dot)com website. We started out this way, but the boys decided to sleep on the floor after awhile. Hey, it worked for a night. It definitely made us even more excited to pull into our driveway 24 hours later!

If you read this far, you deserve a medal for vicariously spending 10 days on the road with us! Fun times! Hopefully family trips become even easier and more fun in the future.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Expert Consignment Sale Tips for the Just Between Friends Sale

Thank you to Just Between Friends Lee's Summit for sponsoring this post and for hosting a consignment sale that I love to shop at every spring and fall!

The other day, someone complimented me on my outfit, and I excitedly told them that I bought the entire thing at a discount store. The original commenter was impressed, but her friend standing next to her said, "Why would you say that?! I would have just said thank you and let her think I paid more for it."

Why? Well, because I LIKE the fact that I'm able to dress my family and go Christmas shopping for pennies on the dollar! What I like even more is that I can afford to buy nicer used things than I would be able to otherwise. And if I'm extra lucky, I can even find new things at STEEPLY discounted prices if I keep my eyes open. I don't mind talking about it, because I'd like to see every family save the kind of money we do by shopping smartly!

Let's be honest, I totally see it as a game now! #winning

One of the issues that quad families face is needing to buy four new wardrobes every season for their growing kids. There are no hand-me-downs within the family because everyone is the same size. How do we do it affordably? Consignment sale shopping!

One of my favorite places to shop for kids clothes, toys, shoes, and literally every other kid-thing imaginable is at the Just Between Friends Consignment sales twice a year. I go every February and August and stock up!

I have to show you some of my finds at past JBF sales!

The JBF Lee's Summit owner knows that I raid the shoe section every time I visit her sale. She kind of teases me about it now, because I leave with a whole bag full of shoes without fail. I found these almost new sandals for Abby at the spring sale for only $2. Yeah, $2!!!

Have you seen these adorable lace boutique dresses floating around on children's clothing sites? I had seen them and really wanted them for the girls, but I didn't want to pay boutique prices. I paid $9 for the pink one and $12 for the yellow one at the spring sale. and they were NEW!

At the last sale, I also found a whole box of new, shrink wrapped Disney DVDs! I ended up with Frozen (we wore out our first copy and needed a replacement) and Planes for the kids!

This is the toy section of the sale. So many toys. Oh my word....Did I mention that I like to do my Christmas shopping at the JBF fall sale? Toys are in such great condition and there are no boxes/zip ties to mess with on Christmas morning. It's great! If you are looking for bigger toys like play houses, play kitchens, wagons, bicycles, etc, walk in the door, and walk straight to the back of the toy section. They are along the wall at the back, and they go FAST!

This is another one of my favorite finds! I found these three trikes at the JBF sale last fall. I paid $35 total for all three of them! With the fourth one that we were given by a friend, we had enough for all of the kids. 

I should stop there simply because if I don't, I'll be posting photos all night. You can see more on my Instagram and in past posts if you really want to see more examples. 

Meanwhile, you really need to find yourself a block of time to visit this sale. Here are the details:

Just Between Friends Lee's Summit Fall Sale Details
John Knox Pavilion in Lee's Summit
520 NW Murray Rd, Lees Summit, MO 64081

Thursday, August 27th
 Primetime starts at 10am with a $10 Admission
Presales start at Noon for registered shoppers

Friday, August 28th
Open 10am-7pm
$2 admission

Saturday, August 29th
Open 10am-5pm
Free Admission

Sunday, August 30th
Open 10am-5pm
Free Admission PLUS the 50% off sale!!
TIP: A fall-themed booth will be set up with a professional photographer on hand to take FREE photos of your kids in their Halloween costumes or regular clothes. You will be given the info to download your child's photo for free!

So here are my expert consignment sale shopper tips (because I have shopped this sale MANY times!)
  1. If you are a First Time Parent, First Time Grandparent, Teacher, Foster Parent, Military Spouse, or a Mom of Multiples, click HERE to register for a FREE early pass into the sale to beat the crowds!
  2. If you don't fall into one of the presale groups OR you really want to have first pick of everything, pay the $10 and do the Prime Time Shopping. Even though I'm a Mom of Multiples, I still prefer the Prime Time Shopping because it gets me in even earlier. Totally worth the $10 because I more than make up for it in what I find by beating the crowds. Plus, the Prime Time Shopping fee benefits the JBF charities that they partner with!
  3. Bring the list of things you need, your kids' feet, and wear your tennis shoes. They will have a giant shopping bag, and a holding area for any finds you need saved for you while you shop!
  4. Follow @JBFAmber on Periscope for some behind the scenes peeks at the sale, and make sure you follow me @OilyRuckus on Periscope as well! I'm going to Periscope from a special presale event on August 27th before Prime Time opens and show you some of the fun stuff that you can grab this season! It will help you know where to run to first to grab items you are looking for!
  5. You can also subscribe to the JBF Lee's Summit Email Newsletter for extra info on shopping, selling, volunteering at the sale, and to track any sales that you make as a consignor.
  6. And lastly, stop by the JBF FaceBook page on August 25th at 9pm for a fun FaceBook party! They have been know to giveaway some JBF bucks and front of the line passes during their parties!

Hope to see y'all there! Just think, Christmas shopping can be finished by the end of the weekend and you'll still have money in your bank account! Whoohoo!!

This post was sponsored by Just Between Friends Lee's Summit because they know that I'm a consignment sale addict and love their sale so much! Even though this is a sponsored post, all words, opinions, and photos are mine. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School for Our Last Year of Preschool!

Exactly a year ago, I posted our back to school post for the 2014-2015 school year. This is our back to school post for the 2015-2016 year!

I'm so impressed with myself for nailing this post topic two years in a row. BOOM!

Our kids are 4-year-olds now, so this is their last year of preschool. They are all still in blended classrooms that include SPED students, which we really like. And we really like their teachers again this year as well! We are actually one week into the school year, and I have to say, the teachers and paras are what make it worth taking the kids to this school. They totally pour into our kids, and fully love them. They are truly amazing women!

The official first day of school photo:
Abby, Elijah, Caleb, and Ellie

Take a look at Caleb's face. LOL! The kids have to get out of bed at 6:30am every morning for a 7:30am start time. Who schedules preschool to start that early?! Oh my stars. I feel his pain!

Mrs. Rachel and Caleb

This year, Caleb is in a room with one teacher and one para (last year he had 1 teacher and 2 paras) and so far it is working out. There was some talk with the SPED coordinator about placing him in a low incidence room this year, but we pushed hard against that. A low incidence room is one where all of the children are SPED and usually more severe. There are a lot fewer kids and extra paras in those rooms because of the level of needs. We pushed against it because we really feel that Caleb can succeed in a blended classroom (part SPED/part normal - although I hate to use that word). He is SMART, and he CAN learn just as much as other kids. He is mild to moderate on the spectrum, and we just didn't think that putting him in a room with severe kids was the right move. Thankfully, the SPED coordinator listened to our concerns, went back over his IEP paperwork again, and agreed to place him back in a blended classroom. He was placed with Mrs. Rachel who seems to really understand and grasp his issues and picked up immediately on tools to help him. She's already put him in charge of carrying a basket to and from the cafeteria from meals to help keep him focused (I think she just puts some random stuff in it. Lol!) His para is also a really wonderful woman who we've already grown to appreciate! Mrs. Pam is a retired school teacher and seems to "get him" and love him for who he is. He is already falling into a routine in the room, and I can tell this will be a very successful year!

See the photo above? He was laughing so hard he couldn't keep his eyes open! :)

Abby and Mrs. Bruns

Our sweet Abby is with Mrs. Bruns this year. Mrs. Bruns seems to be a really good match for Abby's personality and told me that Abby is "showing the new kids in preschool the ropes." Hahaha!! Sean and I are both hoping that's a good thing! Abby's main SPED issues are related to social/emotional coping skills, but Mrs. Bruns told me that so far, her transitions during the day are going well.

While I was working on this post yesterday, I asked Abby what her para's name was. She told me it was Mrs. Bird. When I dropped her off at school today, I asked her teacher. Apparently the para's name is Mrs. Linda and no birds are involved, but, I had already made the graphic, so....sorry, Mrs. Linda! Sometimes Abby is a little slow on the uptake. ;)

Mrs. Brittany and Elijah

Elijah is back with Mrs. Brittany and Mrs. Dee this year, and he could not possibly be more delighted! He actually has a little crush on Mrs. Brittany that started last year. It totally cracks us both up when Elijah walks up to her and says, "You have nice shoes!" Oh, they start early! And Mrs. Dee is just a riot! On the second day of school, Elijah walked in with bug bites all over his legs because I let him go outside to play and forgot to spray him down. She took one look at him and said, "You let my baby get all eaten up by BUGS?!" I apologized profusely, but love that she keeps such a close eye on him.

Sean and I are really happy that Elijah has his same teacher and para from last year. They are really awesome ladies, and know how to handle him well. We have a lot of trust in them, and appreciate the huge progress Elijah made last year. They've already reported that he is more settled and focused this year....they aren't sure if it's because he grew up a little bit over the summer or if it's the essential oils I slather him in before he leaves the house, but something changed. Granted, we still have a long. long way to go with the focusing, but everyone has high hopes for even more progress this year!

Mrs. Kesley and Ellie

Ellie is back with one of her most favorite people in the whole world: Mrs. Kelsey! She could hardly stand being away from her this summer, because she looks up to her so much. I'm routinely told, "Well, Mrs. Kelsey says...." Honestly though, Mrs. Kelsey is a wonderful role model for Ellie and she simply blossomed being in her classroom last year. This is such a perfect pairing!

Right now, Ellie's para, Mrs. Liz, is a sub while her regular para is out. We haven't met the regular para yet, but hope she is a lot like Mrs. Liz who seems to be very attentive to the kids and their needs. I'll have to update on that down the road!

Last year of preschool, and kindergarten is only a year away. Wow! I feel like there is a lot to accomplish this year before we head into elementary school.

Each of the kids will be tested before kindergarten to decide whether or not they need continuing special education services. In preschool, they give SPED kids a general school diagnosis of "Child with a Developmental Delay". In kindergarten, they make that much more specific and that is when labels start coming into play. We are praying that several of our kids will not qualify for services anymore after the progress they have made. We know that at least one or two will probably need continuing help, and we will fight tooth and nail for that, but it shouldn't be a thing that they deal with for their entire school career. The developmental pediatrician told us last year that he hopes to "un-diagnose" Caleb's autism in the next few years as he continues to adapt.  I think my biggest fear is having Caleb go all the way through school with a label that will limit him. We actually don't see his autism as a limitation, but rather as just a different set of wiring that contributes to how smart he is. It's just a matter of unlocking his brain in a way that makes sense to him. Anyway, now I'm just rambling. Long story short, we have big hopes for this year for all of our kids, and we know that God will take care of their kindergarten year and testing as we work toward that goal.

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