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Back to school……ALREADY?!?!

This summer has sped by faster than any summer before.  Is that normal?  Do they keep speeding by faster and faster as your kids get older?  If so, I’m filing a complaint! ;)  No, but really, we didn’t do everything we wanted to do this summer…..and I still don’t feel fully moved into this new house.  (Remember, we moved to Oklahoma last spring…)

Even though I begged them not to, the kiddos grew over the summer. And have been so excited shopping for classroom supplies, new shoes, and a few new items of clothing.  I also finally let them buy new backpacks this year.  I bought their only other backpacks when Elli was in Kindergarten and Connor was in preschool.  Those suckers have lasted for 3 years of school and probably would have lasted a 4th year but they were a little on the smaller side AND they were all begging for a new backpack.  (It’s true…the more expensive Pottery Barn backpacks really DO last longer!)  So, I told them they each could have $15 to spend on a new backpack……and sure enough, they found one! And boy was it hard to just let them pick what they wanted and not try and persuade them to pick something a little less obnoxious.  I have been trying REALLY hard to let them make their own personality and style choices (especially Elli, who’s the oldest) but for goodness sake, why do children’s companies toss everything they can onto one backpack?  Or shirt?  Or pair of shoes?  Wowza!  But okay Elli, if you want a My Little Pony backpack slathered with every color and sparkle of the rainbow, including motion sensor blinking lights…….GET IT!  Oh, and should we talk about those high-top bling-ed out sneakers while we’re at it?!!  ((Oh boy….breathe Ashley.))  But I have coached myself the past few months into just letting her embrace that little 8-year-old style she has growing inside of her, let her test it out, and see how it feels on her.  (And then, for the love, please pass this phase quickly! It’s hurting my eyeballs!)

I’m learning.  I need to let them have control over the things that don’t really matter and help guide them with things that do.


Anyway, back to the whole point of today’s post (wow….I had no idea I’d go on and on about giving children style choices), my kids started school yesterday!!!!  Elli (8), Connor (7) and Chloe (4).  Oh my heart…my babies are getting so big!


Since we moved here last spring, they are excited to not be the “new” kids anymore.  They are starting a fresh new year, just like everyone else…….and they’re THRILLED!!  And yep, a 3rd grader, a 2nd grader…..and haha, sweet Chloe is trying to make a “P” (for Pre-K) for the camera.  So big.  All of them.



My 2 girls, Elli and Chloe, have very different personalities.  When Elli started school, she was very apprehensive.  She told me all of her worries and how she wasn’t sure what to say to make a new friend.  She was so brave on her first day of school back in Pre-K and then in Kindergarten, but has done really well since.  But she really has had to work at it.

Now Chloe — she has been begging to go to school for over a year now, and has been planning out her future friends’ names, imagining how beautiful her teacher would be (turns out, she’s actually young and adorable…whew!), what games she’d play on the playground, etc.  She hasn’t been one bit nervous.  Only 2000% excited!


But my heart still has a hard time dropping of my little 4-year-old’s off at their very first day of pre-school.  But Chloe’s excitement made it a lot easier.  And so did watching her skip down the sidewalk way ahead of me, hanging her backpack in her cubby, and then grabbing some little girl’s hand and telling her they should go down the slide together.  I stuck around for a little while watching her on the playground and smiled as I watched her observe what the other kids were doing…….and then joined right in!  Chloe is such a fiery child (that definitely has to be reigned in at times) but she is a funny one to watch! :)  She is going to LOVE school!


Oh Connor.  He’s starting to say and do things that are a lot “older” and he’s becoming aware of what’s going on around him.  He wants to be so big and so cool and LOVES hanging around older boys.  (Especially ones who can talk his language of star wars, mine craft, and legos.)  He even told me one day, “Hey mommy, I think I want to start calling you MOM now, okay?” I said sure, that’s fine and told him I was about the same age when I stopped calling my mom, mommy.  And he said, “Okay, well I’m going to call daddy DAD now, that’s okay too, right?”  I told him of course it was!  But then later that night, he came into my room, called me mommy and asked if I could read a book with him.  I kind of love that he forgot! ;)

After he came home from his first day yesterday, he told me, “after you walked us into school and then left, I was feeling a little nervous, and had some tears come to my eyeballs.  But then I started talking to some kids in my new class and I forgot all about you!”  Haha, oh good…..that’s perfect!


Connor became a HUGE reader over the summer and I think that gave him a lot of confidence.  He read the first Harry Potter book (Steve read it to him first and then he read it solo) and sometimes asks if we’re SURE they’re aren’t wizards somewhere in the world.  Ha!  He has been trying out new words and phrases and adores doing “big kid” stuff with his daddy.  (Remember, he tried the whole “dad” thing but still says “daddy”…haha!)  He is going to have a great year!


My sweet Elli.  She has such a compassionate soul.  And I love every piece of her heart. She is growing though and has been testing out her attitude and defiance…..holy smokes.  I know that this is the age for that and it has to grow gradually, otherwise I would lose my mind when it comes full force during the middle school/high school years.  (Heaven help me!)  But I really do love that she’s testing it all out.  Including the eye-rolling and the muttering under her breath. (Okay, that’s a lie. I don’t really love those 2 things, but it’s part of developing, so I get it.)  But it’s also kinda fun to watch her develop her own style.  I don’t want her to choose things just because I like them (though I do hold things up for her to see, and act really excited about them to see if she’ll choose them….haha!), so I actually am proud of her for showing confidence and choosing things that SHE likes! Even if they are purple and pink sparkly high-tops with pink leopard print stars, that twinkle on the toes when she walks. (Yep, that shoe manufacturer threw up every bit of teeny-bop they could, onto those shoes.)


Elli has been noticing a change in the things she and her friends like, and what they talk about…..and she is starting to get embarrassed about the word, “boy”.  Oh gee.  She even told me yesterday morning after putting her new high-tops on, that she felt really old with them on, like a teenager.  (I almost ripped those shoes right off her feet!)

This girl is thirsty for knowledge……and I know she’ll have a great year too!



These kids.  Man, they can be stinkers, each in their own little way.  But I dropped them off on their first day of school with the normal teary eyes and blurred vision….knowing how much of my heart they carry with them.  They really are my little world.  (Plus baby Oliver…..but he didn’t make it into the pictures.)  Please be kind new teachers, new classmates, and new school.  And you 3 better use your manners, raise your hands, and please oh please go and find the lonely child on the playground and play with them!



Are any of you sending kids off to school (or already have)?  Does it always make you sit and think about how much they have grown? And who’ll they’ll become? And how you’re doing as a parent? My emotions are tired.  But I’m happy to have a schedule back.  And an uninterrupted afternoon (because Oliver is napping and Chloe is in afternoon Pre-K).


Happy “Back to School” friends!



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Estrella says:

    My 9-year-old really knows what she likes, too… And it’s got NOTHING to do with what I like! But she’s building her own little personality, and I love that :)

  2. Chella says:

    Your three kids sound really adorable and I really could not help being emotional while reading part of this post. I love their enthusiasm and desire for school and for Chloe in particular. I hop she keeps the eagerness in the coming years. For me, my daughter loves school. interacting with her school mates has helped her grow mentally and i can begin seeing that maturity in her taking course. she is excited to go back to school and cant wait for summer to be over.

  3. SuzKuhns says:

    how exciting for you – the kids look wonderful and happy – I’m glad you give them leeway on making choices for themselves – that’s so important (and I love your daughter’s shoes – about a year ago I started wearing Converse high tops – turquoise – I’m 66! – it took me some time to get my inner child out!) My son is now 33 and he said he appreciated that I gave him room to grow and that I let him argue his point on occasion – although at the time he did resent that I used the “because I’m the Mom” card, he understood when he got older. As a matter of fact, when he was first in college he once told me that he and his best friend realized they were the only 2 people in their group that liked their parents. We were strict – we had rules that had to be followed or had reasonable consequences – but we also allowed individuality and talked to our kids. In the end, I think that’s the best a parent can do. As someone said here – pick your battles. Hope your kids have a great school year.

  4. Leigh says:

    We home educate so our routine is a little different and our school year starts after Labor Day, but it does seem the summers fly by faster and faster as the kids grow.The days are long but the years are short! My older child returned to university a week ago and my younger child is starting some of the online classes that we’ve found necessary for her high school curriculum. She’ll wait and start the courses she does with me after Labor Day. The best we mommys/moms/mothers can do is make lots of memories in the time we have…and take lots of pictures!

  5. Ellen Barth says:

    We just moved my youngest to New York City for grad school. It’s never easy, in fact this was really hard! Yes, they seem to grow up more quickly the older they get. I love hearing about your kids!

  6. Diane Kayess says:

    You habve really amazimg kid Ashleigh. Be proud and enjoy them. They will grow up so quickly.

  7. Tiffany says:

    Wonderful post. I can relate so much my boys start school on Monday and I don’t know what I’m going to do. We’ve always homeschooled but this year all the boys are going to public school. Wishing you all a wonderful school year.

  8. Bonnie Ditto says:

    The picture of Chloe making to ‘p’ melted my heart!

  9. Louise says:

    Can’t believe how fast your children have grown, when I started reading your blog,you were pregnant with Chole!
    Speaking of long lasting book bags, JanSport has a lidetime guarantee will repair or replace if they don’t last. I also read that LL Bean has same guarantee.

  10. Kim says:

    Although I love your sewing and other posts, I get most excited to read about your kids and see their sweet faces! Children are so precious, and childhood so fleeting! Thank you for sharing them with us :)

  11. Alycia says:

    My soon to be nine (next week) year old has shoes almost the same, just not high tops. She told me they “spoke” to her and she “just had to get them, no others could even compare”

  12. Jenny says:

    Oh I love this post so much! I am feeling many of the same emotions and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one dealing with the eye rolling and under-the-breath muttering. Gotta love 7 and 8 year olds I guess. Your kids are darling!

  13. Toni says:

    (and if you can edit my use of “you’re kids” UGH I can’t believe I didn’t catch that; obviously it’s “your kids”)

  14. Toni says:

    This is a beautiful post. You’re kids will really enjoy reading this down the road. We are back to school here in Ohio too and it does make me realize how big they are getting. Their growing independence makes me feel sad but also proud. Obviously I want the kids to be independent but I’m never ready for it when it actually happens. Thanks for sharing the lovely post!

  15. Victoria says:

    Now that mine are all grown up, with hindsight I have to say my motto was always, “Pick your battles. And don’t sweat the small stuff.” Looks like you’re embracing that philosophy as well. Good for you. It’s always helpful for them to learn to make the right small choices, then it is easier when they have a really big choice to make. You’re such a good mom! Keep up the good work. Love you blog.

  16. Kristen | The Frugal Girl says:

    We homeschool, and so we always wait until September to start school. I just can’t get into the idea of school in August! ;) I stubbornly insist that it’s still summer if the calendar says August.

    1. Kim says:

      Our family too (although my kids are adults now). We started the day after Labor Day and ended the Friday before Memorial Day :)

  17. Anonymous says:

    cute kids. enjoy your afternoon.

  18. Erica Guadagnoli says:

    Over here in WA.. at least in our school district, the kids don’t start back school until September 9. I am glad. I hate the idea of sending them back in August! I wish summer break was from memorial day to labor day. Kids need more chances to be kids and not grow up so fast.

    1. Diane W says:

      Thats my thought. Let kids have a long summer. We’re in WA too, but our last graduated last spring. So, sniff sniff. Im really feeling it. Think Ill go buy me some crayons and enjoy the smell. Life goes too fast. Our grandkids go back the 9th too.

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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