Wednesday, August 2, 2017

When Your Summer Dies, IWSG, & Angels


It's that time of the year when many parents are shopping for school necessities, looking forward to shipping their energy-balls off to the institution, and getting back into a prolific routine.

Yet some of us are filled with dread.

Some parents are welcoming a season of ease, writing, freedom, and productivity.

For everyone else, students and teachers alike, these are for you:


I pretty much feel like this at the beginning to middle of every school day:
And this:



And this, of course:


But for me, it really looks like this:

And when the kids fight me about assignments, there's lots of this, along with self talk:


(Why oh why do I do this to myself? Home schooling is COMPLETE insanity. I'm insane.)

(Especially when teaching my kid who is ADD+.)

(Who eats up ALL my energy, by himself.)

(Which is every day.)

(All the time.)

(Plus the other three kids.)

(Is it too early for a cheese break?)

But then there are little moments that change everything, moments I would miss if we did things differently:


This is pretty much how I feel about the process of writing as well. We slave over something we love, and sometimes it turns out, and often we want to slam our heads into a desk, repeatedly. But it's the small moments that make it all worth it. It all boils down to loving what we do, and making the best of every moment.

For those of you who are really excited to shove your kids/self back into the cookie-maker, I mean shaper, I mean school...



Huge thanks for hosting
Alex Cavanaugh
Christine Rains,
Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,
Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

Last month, Bethany Kaczmarek shared STRAINS OF SILENCE along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed which was the lie was entered to win an eBook.

The game:

1. I've been married for 19 years, and we've moved 15 times.
2. I once lived in the country and had a cat named Taxi, because it amused us all to call for her.
3. I collect place mats from all over the world, and I love mixing them up at the table.

The lie: #3.

From Bethany: I only have place mats from Lithuania. They're made of linen and lace, and I would never allow anyone to eat on them. I do collect pottery and nativities from all over though. I'm not attached to stuff, but a few things in my home make it home to me, representative of our lives--and those are the pieces of art I've collected on our travels. Each tells a story I don't want to forget.

And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...

Congrats, Sandra!

And now for a book I think sounds absolutely fascinating:

For a ghost there are only two choices. Heaven or Hell.

Life has returned to normal for Tamara and Dex after helping a horde of ghosts cross over. Their brush with the afterlife affirmed one thing: happily ever after is real.

When odd pranks around the farm escalate to destruction, Tamara fears mischievous teenagers are vandalizing the neighborhood. Then Dex starts to act out of character. Meanness slips into his usually playful disposition. One day he even ridicules a co-worker publicly. Tamara watches helplessly as he seems to lose the ability to control his own actions. When Dex’s abnormal anger turns violent—toward Tamara—their happily ever after is threatened. Desperate to help Dex and herself, she sends out a silent prayer for help.

She didn’t expect Cal, the cowboy ghost she fell in love with before helping to cross over, to come to her aid.

Buy your copy on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author?

LA Dragoni isn’t too particular about who falls in love or where they fall in love. Whether it’s paranormal, mythical, or time travel, LA simply considers it her job to divine their story and share it with you. No stranger to the supernatural, LA believes the house she grew up in was visited by the ghost of the previous owner who died of a heart attack while mowing the lawn. Now she lives in a ghost-free home in Central Oregon with her husband and children, but haunts ghost towns and cemeteries throughout the west, in search of the next adventure to sift through her storytelling brain. Learn more about LA and her work at www.ladragoni.com.

Originally from Wisconsin, cheese is a way of life for LA. She is always trying to find new ways to enjoy it. Her current favorite is homemade mac and cheese made with generous shreds of mozzarella and pepper jack cheeses. The gooier, the better.

LA gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win an ebook of GUARDIAN'S TOUCH. If you are the randomly selected winner and guessed correctly, you will also receive GHOST TOUCH, the first book in the series. (Open internationally.) DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT WITH AN EMAIL ON THE PROFILE? No problem. LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL IT TO crystal@crystal-collier.com WITH YOUR SCREEN ALIAS.

You have until Tuesday, September 5th at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on September 6th, 8 a.m. EDT.
TRUTH OR LIE

1. Once when riding with a friend, LA grabbed the dashboard and cried, “Careful! Watch out for the dog.” Her friend thought she was nuts, but when she turned the corner had to break to avoid hitting a dog running across the road.
2. LA has accurately predicted two earthquakes.
3. As a young girl, LA wanted to go on a day trip with her dad, but it was raining too hard. She flung her hands into the air and yelled stop. It did! Instantly! Though her father was freaked out, they departed on their adventure.

So sleuths, which is the lie? Have you met LA Dragoni? Are you ready for/excited about the new school year? What pet peeves do you have about reading or writing?

96 comments:

  1. As much as you might want to lock your kids in a closet, I believe that is still illegal in all fifty states.
    Tough choices today. I'll go with the third one.

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  2. Love this - "It all boils down to loving what we do, and making the best of every moment."

    And it's never too early for a cheese break. :)

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  3. It's never to early for cheese. This is my first year for no school shopping in over twenty years. Man, that makes me feel old! That's what happens when you have a surprise blessing. :)

    Enjoy the rest of your week!
    Elsie

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  4. Cheese Omelet for breakfast!!! My kids used to love to go back to school shopping and I miss that too! I liked having them at home with me, but by the last 2 weeks of summer vacation it was time for them to move on....

    I'll say #2 is the lie.

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  5. We don't start school until September (we have school until last day of June) - but I can't believe it's so close already!! Crazy fast

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  6. I don't have kids, but have noticed that school in my town now begins in the middle of August. Many are starting during the week of the 14th. I can remember when it didn't begin until after Labor Day for me. But my senior year of high school started on the last day of August.

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  7. You have more patience than I do. And a ton more kids. LOL Back to school in August is so wrong. Our first day was always the day after Labor Day and the end of the OR State Fair.

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  8. So true that it is the little moments that matter. And it's never too soon for a cheese break. :)

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  9. Those moments sneak in there. I love them when they do. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  10. Yes get a plate of cheese. You've got a lot on your plate right now.

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  11. Repeat after me, "It's never too early cheese!"

    I don't have children, but I have to take my hat off to you with the home schooling. I imagine it's lots of work, but incredibly rewarding.

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  12. Sing it with me: "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." Sorrynotsorry. I love when the kids return to school. My sanity returns and my clean house.
    p.s. It's never too early for cheese.
    Lie is #2

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  13. Yep, my kids start school in 5 days. My oldest boy is off to high school. It's bittersweet since the countdown is on to him leaving the house. :( It's a good time though, the kids can get out and fight with each other a little less.

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  14. It's always time for a cheese break! (How could you doubt that?)
    We've been postponing school supply shopping and won't touch it until the last minute, and are simply loving the last days. It's always such a bittersweet moment. BUT we've already colored the 'days off' coming up, so they're bright and beautiful.

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  15. It's a whole other thing when you home school.

    Sending you a platter of cheese to help you get through it. :)

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  16. I am counting the days until school. I admire you for homeschooling though. That must be so much work.

    I'm going to guess #3 for the lie.

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  17. The kid pics collage is so fun! I live right next to a school, so even though I don't have kids, I know the system schedule so I can time when I leave my house! Scheduled drop off and pick up is insanity. My system is just now moving toward busing. We are urban but for whatever reason there are no busses in our district except for the private schools.

    Here is my IWSG post for August: Top First Pages Pet Peeves AND How to Fix Them!

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    1. One private school; my friend's church school has no buses. She spends half her life rotating kids in and out of church school!

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  18. I was a public school teacher for over thirty years. Public school is a place of safety and opportunity for a lot of children. But I know that home-schooling done right is a pretty great thing. And I'm sure you're doing it better than a public institution could.

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  19. I'd ask you how you get anything done, but my kids aren't in school yet (they're 2 & 4) so I'm in your same boat...I'm not sure how it happens, but we manage. My trick is staying up WAY too late. Go Mombies!!

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  20. We've only just broken up in the UK, a week or so ago, and we're not back until the beginning of September. However, back-to-school ads were on TV before term even ended!

    I have utmost admiration for your home-schooling. I know I'd be driven mad within the month!

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  21. Kids in our area started back to school this week! Waaaay too early!

    I was one of those weird moms who hated to see the end of summer vacation come, because as hectic as our house was with our kids and all of their friends here... I loved it. And some part of me still misses it. (But only a little... empty nesting is pretty awesome, too.) I salute you for home schooling your younguns. No matter how good some teachers may be, good parents care MORE about their children's educations.

    Oooh, that sounds like an interesting book. I'll guess #3 is the fib.

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  22. Hi,
    I lift my hat to you. Homeschooling is a big challenge.
    Wishing you all the best with your writing and with homeschooling this year.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia at Everything Must Change

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  23. In the UK we have only just broken up! As I work in school myself it is a chance for a month off from the littlies to do other things. My own two are all grown now but I used to love the holidays and spending time with them. Homeschooling is a lot of work but I bet you have some great memories too. Love those pictures . . . sending plenty of cheese for energy!

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  24. Hi Crystal, you sure have a full plate! I know you can do it though, you go girl!

    Huh, I'll say #2 is the lie.

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  25. Hard to believe back to school is just around the corner. There's a few more weeks, so enjoy them. :)

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  26. I'm thinking about all the cheese in our frig. right now. You must be a person with a lot of energy. Teaching school, writing the next big thing, and having babies. Just thinking of all that makes me want to go to bed. Miss you in critique. I'll save you some cheese.
    Nancy

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  27. I have a friend who started homeschooling this year. She has a three year old screaming for attention the whole time. She used to teach third grade, and she's still been stressed. Sending calming waves to you both. :D

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  28. I don't want summer to end! It's been fun but I guess that's why I love summer because it doesn't go the course the entire year. I am going with the first as the lie.

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  29. The whole back to school thing hasn't quite registered for me yet. The first day is the day after my daughter's birthday, so school plans kind of got shoved to the background. I suppose I do need to go shopping, don't I?

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  30. My boys are seniors this year, and I cannot believe how fast, fast, fast, their school years have gone. During those early elementary days, I thought parents were liars, when they said the time would fly. Now, I'm about to wipe another tear, thinking about those little boys who are now almost grown men. I'm trying to cling tightly to these next 9 months.

    Also, good luck to you!

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  31. I admire your energy and strength to home school your kids and try to factor in time to write. Bottle up some of that energy and send it my way. :)

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  32. Hi, Crystal....

    With all the mistreatment in schools these days, I totally understand why you home school. It is a difficult decision. You are basically giving up a part of your life for your children. Giving them the knowledge of life through your eyes. Soon they will be old enough to make their choices and live their lives, but until then...keep up the AMAZING work!

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  33. Hi Crystal - schools out - gosh I'm so glad sometimes I don't do those days - but it's a big decision to home school ... enjoy! #2 I'd go for ... cheers and happy summer from a dreadfully wet day here on the south coast!!! Cheers Hilary

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  34. Wow, you guys go back early. (I'm at school today, but this is the "year round" school. The other schools are out until the end of the month.)

    I'll guess the lie is #3.

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  35. My daughter hasn't gotten her teacher assignment yet, so we can't buy supplies until then. Certain teachers in the fifth grade require more supplies than others.

    I'll guess #3 is the lie.

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  36. It's hard to believe kids are back in school already. Way to soon! If feels like summer vacation hasn't even started yet!

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  37. Crystal, one distant day in the future you will look back and be glad that you made the decision to home school. Whilst I have no doubt it is not without its difficulties, you will be greatly responsible for all the wonderful that work produces. And by the way, anytime is time for a cheese break!

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  38. I'll guess the lie is #3.

    One of my biggest reading pet peeves is infodumpy, "As you know, Bob" dialogue. It's like some writers don't know they can convey important background information or historical details through narrative passages instead of unrealistic-sounding dialogues imparting history lessons or rehashing what the characters would already know.

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  39. I don't know how you homeschool Crystal. I don't actually have kids, but since I'm a nanny I spend a lot of time with them. Anyway, it practically made my day the week I was watching a 2 year old and being able to drop him off at his school for 8 hours. I mean I love watching kids, to a degree, but freedom? Being able to do what I want to do? That's nice. Of course, kids have a bad habit of growing up. That 2 year old I was so happy to take to school a few years back is now in 2nd grade(!!) and his parents no longer need me to watch him. (His older sister is in high school.) So, yeah. Even though free time is nice, I can also understand not wanting to miss a precious moment with your children. Hope everything goes well with your first day getting back to homeschooling.

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  40. I went into Walmart this weekend and was stunned to see all of the back to school displays up. What happened? Where did the time go? I'm going to go with #2 as the lie.

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  41. I'm sort of ready for my kids to go back. They actually like school. I'm not ready for my own teaching to start. I just feel like I didn't have much of a summer with surgery, recovery, building resistance to a drug I was allergic to, and I played single mom a lot because my husband was in an art residency for all of June and July. I just wish I had another summer to recover from this one. Ha!

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  42. Great photo-essay, Crystal. Love it.

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  43. Your post made me smile! I always hear writers excited about school started because they can write more, but like you, as a teacher, I'm just the opposite. You're so right--the days are hard at times (for writing and homeschooling), but it's so worth it!

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  44. This post was a hoot, Crystal. You are the woman. There's no way I could juggle your schedule.
    Wishing much success to LA and Bethany.

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  45. You are a brave mama to home school your children, yet I can also see how wonderful it would be to work with your own. Bless you. Since I'm now retired I don't have to worry about school starting. Yay. I still kind of miss it though.

    I say # 3 is the lie. And by the way, I've read L A's novel. Yes, yes, yes, everyone else should read it too.

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  46. It's never to early (or to late) for cheese! I'm guessing #1 is the lie.

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  47. I just loved reading this post ... thank you.

    Here in my part of the UK (because Scotland is different) the children have only recently broken up for the summer holidays and they go back in September ...

    Life is precious and it is the moments, those special moments, that give us so much. We need to hold on to these moments and enjoy them ...

    All the best Jan

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  48. Congratulations, Sandra, on winning last time. Here's hoping this time again. I think the lie is #3.

    Crystal, you are a Saint. I've said this before. My oldest has ADD+ and learning disabilities. She's the reason I began college when I did. There are four under her. I can't imagine how you do it. More power to you.

    I hope you are feeling well.

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  49. in my country school starts in September, so there is still more holidays to enjoy for kids. I myself always work all summer long because our biggest Book Fair is in October and publishers are in the rush to translate as many books as possible over summer

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  50. The summer goes so fast! We had such a fun one this year. I wish we had another week so we could do one more camping trip.

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  51. About this time each year, I'd clench my jaw, buy my new academic year calendar and start hunkering down for another semester. Ah, the good old days. I haven't got a clue about which is the lie this time around. Arbitrarily, I'll choose #3.

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  52. Well I can see why you're not all jazzed about school starting. I think I would home school if I were a young parent. I don't like the indoctrination that seems to be going on.

    I'll go with #1 as the fib. So far I've not guessed one right.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  53. I'm with you about school starting. I feel like I just started my break. We head back next week, and our kiddos start the week after. 125 new names to learn. 125 middle school kids who will stare at me as I talk about science and learning, and instead, focus on if I got my hair cut, am wearing make up, or what they smell coming from down the hall. *Facepalm*

    Don't make me go. ;)

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  54. Best of luck getting back into school mode and keeping your sanity. It's okay if you lose it a little as long as the kids can't tell. Just keep cheese in your pockets at all times.
    I think #2 is the lie.
    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and offering your encouragement.

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  55. Mmmm cheese.
    I am super impressed about your home schooling. My childless self is pretty certain I wouldn't manage.
    The book sounds fascinating and I am guessing the no. 3 is the fib.

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  56. It's never too early for a cheese break. I respect you for home schooling. It's not for me, though. My youngest needs an emotional counselor and we both need separation. I've already developed secondary traumatic stress from dealing with his trauma behavior. We need help and the only way to get it and not go broke is through school.

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  57. I can so relate to those pics. When people used to tell me that school would be the best days of my life, I thought I was doomed. Thankfully they were wrong.

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  58. Parents don't get breaks until their child grows up--which is a fungible concept. Homeschooling -- I can't even imagine the level of complexity that layers on top of everything else, but at least you know your ADD child will be treated well.

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  59. Yes, I'm in awe of parents home-schooling. You are doing amazing work.

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  60. I know I'd never do a good enough job homeschooling my kids, but I'm very sad the summer is over. I feel like I missed it this year since I started working. For the first time in 20 years I didn't get to hang out with my amazing kids. I'll never get these days back and that's really sad.

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  61. We still have a month to go before school starts around here. Not sure if I'm dreading it or looking forward to it. If I end up having to help them with homework as much as I did last year, my writing time will go down again.

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  62. My son starts middle school in a few weeks. I'm both excited and a little worried about it. He has dyslexia and ADHD, so homework is always a challenge.

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  63. I read Jacqui’s comment about parents not getting a break until their child grows up but actually parents never get a break! Once a parent always a parent is something my own mum and dad were fond of saying, and I now know exactly what they meant.
    #1 is the lie.
    I know I would enjoy Guardian’s Touch.

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  64. "We slave over something we love, and sometimes it turns out, and often we want to slam our heads into a desk, repeatedly. But it's the small moments that make it all worth it. It all boils down to loving what we do, and making the best of every moment." Words to write by :-) Love the GIFs.

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  65. Home schooling sure brings no cheers when back to school comes to be. But the little moments sure make things worth while. Just don't slam your head on any desks too hard haha

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  66. Time sure flies by, where did the whole summer go indeed. Anyway, wish you all the best with everything. Greetings!

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  67. Sounds like there are bonuses to being unable to have kids! LOL. I'm sure you'l see them as adults and feel proud of all this effort. Best of luck! X

    Shah

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  68. Loved the photos. Time does move fast. Enjoy the moments. Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  69. Summer just flew by. My little guy started school today. I think every year it just gets harder to send him off. Kids get a lot more fun as they grow older. :) Good luck with the school year. I admire your tenacity. My guess for the lie is #3.

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  70. I don't have kids so I don't have to worry about back to school. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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  71. I hated it when my kids went back to school. We had so much fun during the summer. I loved snow days, too.

    Love,
    Janie

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  72. Being a non-parent, I get to just enjoy the sales on things like pens, paper, post-its...
    I probably shouldn't be allowed to shop at this time of the year.
    *locks wallet in safe*
    Wait! There's a sale on notebooks!!!
    Ha ha.

    I'll guess #2 as the lie, while I'm eating some Polly-O string cheese twists, which were on sale thanks to back-to-... well, you know. ;)

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  73. Home schooling would have been sheer torture for me. Love my kids but . .

    I'm glad mine are all grown and (mostly) out of the house. The grandkids are fun, and exhausting. I think its great that you enjoy home schooling them though. From the pictures, it looks as if it all works out.

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  74. With all the trials, life's little moments are still worth it.

    Damyanti

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  75. I love the little moments in the roller coaster of homeschooling ... although now I'm pretty much done. My oldest is off to college and my youngest is doing running start - a dual credit program at the community college.
    Have fun picking up the new notebooks (my favorite part of back to school shopping) and getting started again!

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  76. Homeschooling, writing, having a baby, managing your family...and you still find time to visit and comment on blogs. Kudos to you!
    I have one kid, who is all grown up and lives out of town, in another province...but I remember those back-to-school days...

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  77. School starts here in a couple more weeks. I don't have any kids, but my co-author is a teacher- so I know about that back to school feeling from her. :) Hope your back to school transition is easier this year.
    ~Jess

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  78. I know my take on going back to school is different than others. I taught teens for twenty-five years. I <3 summer! I practiced for retirement every summer break. Now, I know I perfected the use of time for me, myself, and I when I write. Good luck, Crystal!

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  79. I love the collage of your kids "at school" with you. Awesome!! The gifs are funny too even though I'm sorry you feel that stressed!
    LA has some interesting ones this month!! I will guess #3 as the lie.

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  80. This is such a great post!! Wishing you and your kids all the best! Big Hugs!

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  81. I used to love back-to-school commercials when I was a kid because I loved shopping for school supplies (especially new notebooks). Now that I'm a teacher, I feel differently because I just keep thinking of all the papers I'm going to have to grade, sighh...

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  82. I know that everyone has their own path, and I'm always glad when people get the families that they wanted. But I swear, every single thing I read about peoples' kids makes me so very glad I'm set on never having my own. ^_^

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  83. It really seems like school starts sooner and sooner for these kids each year. No back to school shopping for me, but I'm still mourning the impending loss of summer. Pass the cheese, yeah?

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  84. The only reason I'm excited about school coming back into session is the fact that it means autumn is coming, and I love autumn. Summer is just too hot and sticky.

    Congrats to LA! Love that cover, and I'll guess #2 as the lie.

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  85. I don't have kids yet, so school year dates mostly fly over my head.

    Best of luck with the home schooling, though!

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  86. I was wondering why you dreaded "back to school" so much, until I read the bit about home schooling. It all makes sense now. You are amazing!

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  87. Loved your back to school funnies! I admire your patience and organization in home schooling your children! I always got sad when my kids had to go back to school, as the summers went by so quickly. Though it must often be frustrating, enjoy this time together with your kids, as it really does go by in the blink of an eye.

    Julie

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  88. I always hated going back to school. It was torture. I take my hat off to you, Crystal. Home schooling your kids yourself and still writing. You rock. Definitely have those cheese breaks . . . frequently.

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  89. I imagine homeschooling to be a chaos of ups and downs, to say the least! I totally admire you. Helping with homework is enough for me. Based on the facts, LA seems to have magical powers. I think I'll go for #2 as the lie.

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  90. Such a great post. Cool to see your kids in action. I thought about homeschooling. But hubs doesn't think I have it in me, darn. I may start subbing one day a month though starting this year.

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  91. Gosh, I don't miss school. LOL.
    I don't have kids yet but I'm seriously considering homeschooling. Weighing the pros and cons.

    Thanks for this.

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  92. Crystal, you always brighten my day. That RIP gif at the top had me going, too funny. =-) Also, love LA's book cover.

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  93. Congratulations to Sandra Allen Lovelace!

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  94. I will saaaaaaaay...#1 is the lie! And I'm sending you tons of cheese vibes to get through home schooling woes. I hope you're able to find a little you-time through the year.

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Hit me with your cheese!