Home » Family » BACK TO SCHOOL…(only a few weeks late, shhhh!)

BACK TO SCHOOL…(only a few weeks late, shhhh!)

Oh goodness.  Not even sure where the hours in my day are running to.  Or the weeks and months, for that matter.  But you guys…..I’ve missed being here!!!  I miss sharing all of these ideas that are stewing in my brain and are begging for me to make them.  (No joke…..they BEG!)  I swear every single day I tell myself that I’m going to sit down and knock out a whole lot of stuff to share.  But wow……life has been a little more twisty and turny this year.  But I’m determined to share so much more over the next few months, but especially during this month because……HELLO, it’s OCTOBER!!!!!!!  And well, Halloween costumes are my favorite!  (In case you need a reminder of how much I love it, here’s all my past Halloween costume tutorials.  Just looking over there gets me all excited again!!)  But I’ll be sharing my kids’ costumes really soon!  Hopefully starting next week! :)

In the meantime, I’ve been wanting to catch you all up on what’s going on around here.  I’ve mentioned (and have been vague about some health issues I’ve been going through, and hopefully one day I’ll share more…) but that has been priority for most of 2018.  And wow, what a journey, trying to figure things out.  But somehow summer came and went so dang fast….and now the kiddos are back to school!  And since I have always shared “Back To School” pictures here on the blog (past years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012), I had to hurry and share.  Even though they started about 6 weeks ago (on August 16th).  Ack!!  Oh, and check back in Thursday or Friday of this week, because I have another post almost ready to share and then at least a couple for next week.  Yep, my photo editing fingers have been BUSY! ;)

Anyway, the school situation is so different this year.  My oldest Ellie, decided to go against everything I’ve ever told her about staying little, and has moved onto middle school.  Waaaaaaah!  I’m still in shock that she’s even old enough for this whole 6th grade tweenager stuff…..but yep, it somehow happened!  Our middle school starts earlier than the elementary school, so our tradition of taking pictures before heading off for the first day of school happened solo with Ellie, while Connor and Chloe were still asleep.

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But good grief, this girl has grown up so much this year.  Her whole little personality is changing, she’s thinking a little deeper, and is even developing a better sense of humor….(which Steve and I LOVE, because we’re both the youngest in our families and finally have someone to tease after all those years of being teased and teased and teased!  Don’t worry, we’ll take it easy on her! Ha!)  Ellie also decided she was ready to try out contact lenses instead of wearing glasses every day, but it all of the sudden made her look so grown up….so I’m considering tossing all of those daggum contacts in the trash! ;)

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Ellie was feeling kinda anxious about starting middle school, and I’ll be honest, I was TERRIFIED for her!  Middle school is such a funky time in life, where bodies are changing, attitudes are developing, and friends can be amazing but kinda rotten, all at the same time.  Ellie can be a little timid and sometimes holds back when there are lots of people and craziness going on, so I worried about her walking down those big middle school hallways.  But you guys, something in this girl has changed in the past few weeks since starting middle school….and she has gained this new confidence that still surprises me. 

After the first week of school, I asked Ellie if she liked it better than elementary school and she quickly said “YES!!!”  I asked her why and she told me, without any hesitation, “we get to TALK in the hallways!”  Hahaha…..really??  THAT’S your favorite part?!!  She explained that in the elementary school they had to walk in super quiet lines when walking anywhere in the school.  But in middle school, there are no rules about that, so she feels so grown up and really enjoys having more freedom to talk to friends and go to her locker when she needs to, etc.  This girl thrives on extra privileges and feeling in charge (typical oldest child, am I right?  haha!)… I’m not really surprised that she loves that part so much!

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I’m just so excited for this girl, and the person she’s becoming.  Ellie has this huge passion for creating things, which come on, I absolutely adore about her!!  So I’ll admit, having kids grow up is rough on my heart…..but there are some perks too!

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About an hour later, Connor and Chloe were ready for their first day of 2nd and 5th grade!!!  And holy smokes, were they ever excited to just go!  But nope, we were ready with plenty of time……so they had to humor their mom and her camera first! :)

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Oh, this kid.  Connor was cool as a cucumber about school starting and was only concerned about whether or not his classroom would have Chrome Books to use during certain times of the day. Ha!  In fact, Connor is an all around chill kid and genuinely likes just about everyone… I knew he wasn’t nervous about the teacher he’d get or what friends would be in his class.  He was just excited to get back at it!!

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But he is very passionate about Frito Chili Pie day at the cafeteria, so he was relieved to see that it made it onto the schedule, for his final year at elementary school! ;)

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I know this kiddo will have a great year, especially if he keeps whatever novel he’s reading in his backpack and doesn’t try reading it during his teachers’ instruction time. ;)  (Haha… best friend in school used to get in trouble for doing the same thing.  And I always got in trouble for talking!)

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Ahhhhh, Chloe.  This girl has quite the spunky little personality.  And you better believe she has been planning what to wear on her first day of school for WEEKS!!  She’s also been imagining who would be in her class, what she’ll be playing on the playground, and predicting what field trips her class will be going on this year.  You know, all the important things in her world! ;)

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Chloe is constantly trying to grow up way faster than any of the other kids.  And darn it, I’m not okay with it AT ALL.  But she just wishes with everything in her sweet little 7 year old soul that she was 11 like Ellie.  (She is constantly trying to convince me that the second Ellie grows out of her clothing, she should be able to wear it, even though she’s 4 years younger and still doesn’t fit into it.) Soon enough, cute girl!

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2nd grade….sheesh, still can’t believe it!  But you’ll do great Coco Nut!

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Now, even though this little monkey Oliver is 4 years old, we’re still not putting him into Pre-K.  (Here in Oklahoma, pre-K is funded for everyone and is part of our elementary schools.)  Oliver just turned 4 about a month before school started and so he’d be one of the very youngest.  He just didn’t quite seem ready emotionally, so we’re keeping him home one more year and then we’ll put him in Pre-K next year, when we think he’ll enjoy it so much more!

However, there are a few other moms I know that are doing the same thing with their young 4 year olds and so we’re doing a little Joy School (where the moms take turns teaching) one morning a week.  It’s nothing too complicated but is still fun for the kids to practice listening to another “teacher”, taking turns with friends, sitting quietly during instruction, completing team projects, etc.

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And let me tell you……this kid LOVES going!  And asks me EVERY. SINGLE. STINKIN’. DAY. if it’s “school day”!  Haha!

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He might have been most excited though, to get a new backpack like the big kids.  You know, so he could shove it full of legos, graham crackers, and his favorite stuffed pig named Bacon.

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Oliver has been a late bloomer verbally, so for a while, getting him to communicate what he needed/wanted was a struggle.  But the last few months have been a big developmental jump for him, and he’s suddenly talking a TON and says the funniest things.  I swear, 4 years old has been one of my very favorite stages with all my kids.  They just say the cutest things!  Mr Ollie really is such a fun kid who is always up for adventure, especially if it includes hanging out with Connor, who he insists is his “best friend”!  (Thankfully Connor is so easy going and usually just smiles and nods at the whole BFF comment.  He sometimes uses it to his advantage to help him do his chores….because, as he explains to Oliver, “that’s what best friends do”. Ha!)

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Okay, and because everyone else was getting a “First Day” picture…..we couldn’t forget Max.  Because when Oliver goes to Joy School (if I’m not teaching that week), Max gets me all to himself!!!  Haha!

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This kid, you guys, is the funniest baby.  He is SUUUUUUUUUUUUPER independent and HATES when the kids try carrying him or try doing things to help him.  He knows just what he wants and has the vocal cords to let us know!

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But good grief, this kid is funny.  He loves to laugh and gets extra silly when we’re all watching and laughing at whatever he’s doing.  Max has definitely figured out how to be the youngest of 5 kids….and has mastered the art of making sure he gets a fair amount of attention.  Hahaha… makes me laugh even typing it out because it’s just so apparent what he’s doing.  But even though this kid is very independent and pretty darn stubborn, he is simultaneously the most snuggly little guy and loves to lay his head on my shoulder and bury that little face right into the crook of my neck for some much needed momma time.  It’s my most treasured time with this boy, especially since he’s our very last baby.

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Having these two little boys at the tail end of our family, has been pretty cute to watch.  Even though Max is still a little young to play actual games or do activities with Oliver (that’ll come later), he’s figuring out how to mimic everything Oliver does and wants to be right with him at all times, trying out all the things his big brother is doing…..but independently, of course.

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And because Max is very independent, Oliver gets super excited when Max actually “lets” him help……because it doesn’t happen super often.  But when it does, Oliver loves being the big brother and showing Max the ropes.  And yes, it turns my heart to a puddle every single time I see it happen!

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I hope they’ll always be buddies though, and will always stick up for each other.

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And I’m going to have a little heart-to-heart with Max….and let him know that it’s okay to let Oliver help him a little more, because that sweet little 4-year-old heart of Oliver’s just loves being the helper these days!

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Oh man, these kids grow up way too fast…..but I’m grateful Max joined our family and I get to enjoy these baby days a little while longer!  There’s just nothing sweeter…..except maybe when your 4-year-old leans over to your 1-year-old and smooches his chubby cheek.  That might just win. :)

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Okay, enough rambling……but the new school year is kind of a big deal around here and since I haven’t updated about the kids in a while, I just had to share! I hope all of you with kids are back into the swing of things with school and activities and schedules, etc.  And the rest of you are enjoying the start of fall……because whether or not we’re ready, it’s here!!!!

We’ll chat more soon (tomorrow or Friday)…..and then more next week! :)


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. Kayla Jamieson says:

    I lost contact with your blog for a few years, but was just skimming Pinterest for Halloween costumes, and came across your blog. I can not BELIEVE how big your kids are! How on earth is the oldest in grade 6?!?!?! I remember reading when she started kindergarten. They are adorable children, and from what I’ve read, it looks like your raising them right. :) Cherish these moments, cause time flies.

  2. Jenny says:

    Your kids couldn’t be any cuter! What a fun update!

  3. Mamad3 says:

    Oh my goodness. I have not sewn in a while and hence have not been in here in a long while! Max!! I did not know about Max! Which tells you how long since my last sewing project! I totally surprised to see your kids all grown! Chloe second grade? What??? Oliver already 4! But he was just a baby!! But again, my youngest is almost 4 and my middle is also in second grade. You have a beautiful family!!

  4. Lisa // Cucicucicoo: Eco Sewing & Crafting says:

    I love reading your back to school posts every year. I kind of feel like I’ve been along for the ride of your kids growing up! And my, how they’ve grown over the many years that I’ve read your blog!
    I hope that your health issues are getting worked out, Ashley. Health comes first over everything else. As cliched as it is, it’s true, as I’ve learned that myself over the past few years that I’ve had off and on health issues. Wishing you love and strength! :) Lisa

  5. Irena says:

    Such a joy reading. About your children they are beautiful. In every way. Bless you all I do hope your Health improvesx.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe how grown up your kids are!! I’ve been following your blog for several years but it seems like just yesterday they were babies!!

  7. Louise says:

    Your pictures are great as always. Miss reading your blogs, take care of yourself

  8. Anonymous says:

    so beautiful.. thank you for sharing. I absolutely adore the last picture

  9. Karen Roth says:

    Awww, you got the feelz in high gear Mama?☺. You have such photogenic, lovely beautiful children. I am praying for you all to a blessed abundant season of learning ǹew things together.

  10. Amy Dash says:

    STAAAAAAP growing! How did they get so big!

  11. Cindy S. says:

    Your kids are adorable. Back to school is such a fun time. It seems like yesterday that I was sending my own kids off on their first day of school. Now I’m enjoying pictures of my grandkids doing the same. Time goes very quickly. Enjoy every minute of your family time. I pray whatever health issue you are facing will be healed or brought under control, if it is something that is chronic.

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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