Friday, August 30, 2013

College Football

It's time!

I don't care for football or watching sports in general, but I do love the LSU Tigers!

Kiddos are ready to gear up:

Laine needs some new pom poms, but otherwise, we're set with gear my Aunt Mary sent the kids last year.  

I'm ready to see this stadium full again and hear the LSU fight song.

Isn't that pretty?

I've been walking around the house singing the first four notes of the LSU fight song.....

Nuh nuh nuh NUH!

Carter just rolls his eyes.

I've reminded him how lucky he is to have a mother who went to LSU.  He's less than receptive.

It's time for food, cocktails, fall weather and purple & gold.

It's time to annoy Blake by acting like I know what I'm talking about.  

Last night I asked Blake and Carter why LSU was only ranked 17.  Carter rattled off which player we lost and why.  HOW DO MALES AUTOMATICALLY KNOW THE ANSWERS?  It's fascinating to me.

Some pics of our LSU spirit over the years:

Blake and me at Pat O Brien's in New Orleans during the LSU Championship several years ago.

Meow Meow, decked out.

Remember Meow Meow?  Lainey's stuffed animal who has a Facebook page?  

Laine has taken a liking to her again, so you might see more of her soon.

Blake and baby Jack watching LSU/Florida while we lived in Colorado.

Young Carter.  Does anyone see Lainey here?  So much!

Toothless Carter and the littles.  

What a circus we are.

Cheers to a good season!

Off now to pack for Disneyland.  Our first visit since May.  

Always a special one!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Do you Instagram?

Find me at @caseystarnes.

It's easy and fun!

Check out my new link on the side bar.

Click HERE if you want to create your own.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Week Scoop

We had a terrific first week!

Look at these elementary kiddos coming out of their first day:

They adore their teachers.  We adore their school!

Fun fact: This is the longest run for us thus far in a school district.  With Colorado being next at 3 years, San Diego has taken the lead as we enter our 4th year here.  

Feels good to be settled!

We left school to go get supplies and ran into Meow.

True love can't be stopped simply by school boundaries.  

I cut my hair finally.  Blake likes it short.....shorter than this, actually......but I'm headed in that direction.  No color this time.......just cut........color in a couple of months.  It's way trendier than I usually do....with the longest points in the front and it stacked in the back.  

I love it.

Wearing it curly does well both ways.

Lainey and I went to see Grease Saturday night.  Jack declined and Carter was in Dana Point kayaking all weekend.  He originally wanted to go, but kayaking will trump anything for him.

It was a ton of fun.

I love this theatre.  Aladdin is next!

This next week includes a trial family membership at the YMCA, some volunteer time for me, plenty of work (from home and at the photography studio), and prep for Disneyland on Friday.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School Year Organization, Chores & Social Media Safety


Every year brings new challenges for us with keeping kids focused and successful in school.  I am a firm believer that our kids' progress in school is a direct reflection of our commitment to school.  We have to set the example, present clear and defined expectations, and follow through.

I'm most successful in life when I'm organized.  Here are a few tricks that work for us:

Set up a homework station and use it consistently.  Their supplies and mine are all in one place.  

My supplies:

Sharpies for labeling.
White out.
Post it notes for communication with teachers.
etc, etc

We do work, too!  Having everything in one place helps.

Keep important papers (from registration, letters from the teacher, etc) in one folder for you.  I write teachers' email addresses inside for quick reference.  "My" folder is the red chevron one inside our paper caddy.

Hang calendars in one location:

School issued.
Lunch menu.
Family activities.
Disneyland blockout days.

That far left bulletin is filled with pictures now, but will transition to school work and successful papers soon enough.


For us, summer is lazy and all about fun.  Kids still do chores, but with less rigidity and on their own terms, as long as they get done.

During school, we are too busy for me to micro-manage this, in addition to school work, sports and more.  Chore charts allow them to physically check off their responsibilities and it keeps them accountable.

Social Media

I love this time of year because we get to see everyone starting school in pretty clothes and new backpacks.  Some tips on what to post and what not to (in my opinion):

Never post the name of your child's school.
Never post teachers' names.
Don't 'check in' on school campuses.
Never post schedules or report cards.
Get permission before posting close-up photos of school friends.

I post a ton of photos of our children.....on my blog, facebook and instagram.  But, I'm diligent about keeping details private.  Regardless of how tight your friend list is.....or how private you keep things......if you post something online, it's free game for all, in my opinion.  It's simply not worth the risk.  Carter is my biggest challenge in this area, of course.  He once posted his report card - a very good one - on instagram.  I had him remove it because it included the name of his school and his teachers.  He was upset, but he understood.  

I also try to never post photos of my kids in their school spirit gear.  Every step we can take to keep details private is helpful.  All of this follows the same reasoning behind not putting our kids' names on sports jerseys and not posting stickers on our cars.  Our crew is still furious with me because I won't put 'honor roll' or 'star student' bumper stickers on my car.

But, that too, is for their protection.

I think that covers our routine.  Thoughts or suggestions?  Would love your ideas.

Here's to a great 2013-2014 school year!

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day - And, Life Changes In A Big Way!

It's the end of an era.  All my kids are in school full day.

Time to break out the booze!  

Just kidding.  

But, I do love this:

Some pics from the first day:

Nice, Starnes children.

I want to live in Lainey's head.  This was her choise of picture set up.



Carter, 7th Grade

Oh, Jack.  How I adore you.

2nd grade.

Lainey Caroline.

1st grade.

Sweet big brother walked the kids in to school.

One of the funnest parts of having siblings so close in age?  Their classrooms are right across from each other.

Both littles have close friends in each class.

And, all 3 kids go to fantastic schools.

Carter's drop off was less eventful.  Per his request.  In fact, it was the first time I didn't walk him onto campus.


Kids are growing up!

And, now......I'm home alone for the entire school day.  For the first time ever.

My house will be spotless.  Dinners will be fabulous.

Life is good!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Over It

Summer 2013 has come and gone!

And despite some strict budget restraints, we had our best yet.  

It started out looking like this......all pretty and perfect and well organized.

Now, I'm struggling to fill the days.  Can't tell you how many dollar movies we've seen!  I'm still loving each day......and even if I wasn't, I'd be careful not to let the kids know.  This is THEIR summer.....their time to rest and play and enjoy life as little kids.  A big school year awaits.  

Some highlights of 2013:

Day trips.


I think our kids grew gills this summer.  

Sea shell hunts.

Sea life discoveries.

Water balloons.

Surf days.

Best friends.

County Fair.

Fireworks off the pier.

Water park slides.

Gorgeous Palm Springs.

Fabulous Las Vegas.

New beach games.

Balboa Park.

Night time zoo.

Sunrise surfing.

La Jolla hiking.

Book stores.

Room make-overs.

Professional pictures.

Mission Bay.


And, finally, we look like this.  

We're over it.

Time for school.

Time for a strict reading schedule, homework, team sports and holidays ahead.

I love the smell of crayons!