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We got up not too early (at least not by that time zone -- by our home time zone, insanely early!) and had breakfast, returned bicycles and said goodbye to our host. We drove to Schiphol, stopping to top up the tank and to squeegee the very bug ridden windshield. We got to Schiphol around 11:30 for a 2:45 departure and returned the rental car. We really like BB&L. No surprises in pricing or anywhere else and they are very pleasant to deal with.

We checked two bags (one more than on the way out, but, souvenirs!). We got through the general security line and stopped at McDonald's for lunch and for a couple minutes at the play area. Then off to all those additional levels of security for returning to the US. I won't miss this passport when I renew -- they printed the bar code misaligned and it always causes problems.

We got to the gate in plenty of time and I carped at family for making me run for no good reasons and complained further because R. hadn't checked which boarding group we were in and missed our call. Oh well! We got our seats. My G-Ro did not fit into the overhead in the desirable direction; it had to go sideways. Fortunately, Delta Comfort or whatever they call economy plus has some dedicated bins so we had plenty of space. And then the fun began.

First, the tug couldn't let go of the plane. Then a gear something or other indicator light wouldn't turn off. We ultimately had to return to the gate while someone went and flipped a breaker (really, the whole world works on the principle of turning it all the way off and then on again, apparently), then fans had to be pointed at the brakes to cool them down (did you know taxiing resulted in overheated brakes in airplanes? I did not). I was terrified we'd run out the clock on the flight crew and we would need a replacement crew. Or the problem would require more maintenance and we'd all have to get off the plane for an unknown delay. But my fears were groundless. They served nuts, pretzels and water while we waited and the captain came out to explain matters and be good natured where all could see it. Customer service done right, Delta! Well done! We were almost 3 hours after our scheduled departure before we finally got in the air.

Delta -- at least on this flight -- has a vegan option which is also low sodium (and low fat because ... vegan?). It was korma and super tasty altho A. hated the smell of it. I farted because beans. We passed bits of meals around among the four of us, and between that and the bag of food I brought (paranoia) we all did okay.

The actual flight was uneventful, however, there was a woman in traditional African (no, I can't specify beyond that, however wait and we'll learn a bit more) dress who was rolled up to the plane in a wheel chair. She didn't look young, and she had that look to her that made you think she probably had looked ageless for decades and the not-young could have been very old indeed. In any event, I can only imagine what she thought of the delay. As we were landing, she got up, presumably to use the facilities? Or perhaps out of some anxiety or misunderstanding. They had announced on the PA earlier, looking for someone who spoke Swahili ("or anything like Swahili"), so I'm not sure communication had been established with her. Of course there was nothing for the attendants to do at that point beyond gesture to sit back down. The passengers seated near her helped her not fall down -- she was standing throughout the actual landing, which I have never, ever seen before. And I had seen her delivered to the plane in a wheel chair. Why I Don't Fly Certain Elderly and/or Anxious Relatives, right there, in person. I hope she makes it to wherever she is going; she'll have a heckuva story to tell her family when she gets there.

ETA: On the drive to Schiphol, I saw signs for "Mysteryland" and a lot of cars. Turns out that is a music festival.
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On Friday, we got up a little earlier than usual. After a quick breakfast and packing up for a long day, we went to Heerenveen to pick up A. Then we drove to Holwerd, to catch the 10:30 ferry, but all the ferries were running late all day. Oops! Had I known, we probably could have caught the late 9:30. Oh well! We met P.-J. there.

We got coffee and snacks on the ferry, including an Oreo Doughnut. Which is super weird, and T. liked it; A., not so much.

We had lunch reservations in Buren at StrAnders, a fish restaurant. We had mussels for an appetizer. Really good! With celery and sea weed. I got cod. R. had a seafood plate. P.-J. and A. had the quiche. The kids had chicken wings. T. liked his. "They have a stick in it." Which is the bone. I think this is the first time he's had bone-in chicken. We're branching out a little. A. (my daughter) just ate frites. Which is fine. And honestly, while in the Netherlands, you should eat frites. They are better than here in the States.

T. and R. rented bikes to ride to Buren with P.-J. The rest of us took a taxi.

We caught the very late 2:30 ferry returning. R. picked up a bottle of Nobeltje at the shop that sold only that; I don't think it was there last time. They couldn't read our cards, or take cash, but the nice man running the shop worked with us to take cash anyway. We really appreciated it, because we haven't had a bottle of Nobeltje since 2004 and wanted one. I'd wanted to have lunch at Hotel Nobel and get one there, but I just couldn't figure out a way to make the menu work for the kids.

We returned A. to Heerenveen, then went home to Diever. T. and I went down to the snack bar and I also ate some food that we had already. R. and T. both went for bike rides (separately) since the ride from the ferry to Buren was so short it barely counted. Then we all packed up for our departure the next day.

ETA: While we were having lunch, A. told a really great story (more than one) about how she and J. (her deceased husband) got together. As children, they met while on vacation (camping, if I understood correctly) but she was quite young (about 12) and he a few years older which makes a big difference at that age. Fast forward to when she was 28 (funny stories about a group at work buying a lottery ticket, winning a bunch of money and going to the south of France or some other beach on the Mediterranean with other young women. Bikinis!) and working for (I've forgotten the name of this organization AGAIN -- I think of it as the Dutch AAA, but it isn't about cars or driving but is about travel and reviews) in Arnhem. They met on the street, recognized each other and got married less than a year later. Fantastic! P.J. had heard the camping (?) part of the story but not how they reconnected.

ETA: Not sure which days we saw this, but I figured I'd put it here. We saw this boat more than once; very cool looking!

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T. and R. went to Aqua Zoo Friesland; we did that with A. four years ago but it really tired her out. They've added to it since then. They had a good time.

A. and I were super tired, so we just hung out at the house all day. By the end of the day, not nearly so tired. Sometimes, we just need a day off.

I took T. down to the snack bar for dinner.

We did not visit A. today because she had the house cleaners in the morning and does her laundry in the afternoon. Also, good to have a bit of a rest before the big trip to the island.
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We had a morning visit with A. She gave me a lovely traditional Frysk bag with a silver closure and a hand made lined bag with needlepoint. The closure would traditionally have been reused -- a new bag made at intervals, so it is unlikely this is the original needlepoint, but it is particularly lovely to have as A.'s mother R. made it for her.

To be clear: the woman who, when my grandfather wrote to his brother asking to visit said, we're not having those people (JW's, that is) in my house, made a bag for her daughter, well: I have that bag now. I will cherish it forever, and the folding back together over time of the wounded family, which I really believe -- and which A. believes -- would have made the two brothers (her father and my grandfather) very happy.

After lunch, we visited Bourtange. R. and I went there in 2004. It is a star shaped fortification that has been restored and they do reenactments part of the year, and there are museums the whole year. The kids were tolerant; we visited all the little museums. The best part was the nerf cannons, where we got to shoot each other. Best museum exhibit ever! Altho the ride-on crane with the view of the wet lands around the fortification was neat, too.
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I went to the coop and bought some snacks. T. was asking A. for some of the cookies he remembered from a previous trip and I felt bad about that, and about not bringing her a gift. So I got some nice chocolate, some cherry pastries that had no milk products, the cookies T. remembered and some other things as well. T. bought his sitter a birthday card and we bought stamps and mailed it in the mail box on the side of the coop.

After our morning visit to A., we came back to Diever and had lunch at the Keer n Punt. There were a lot of bees, which A. did not like, and the kids complained a lot. After this, we mostly ate at McDonald's and at the snack bar at Keer n Punt where we could get to go food.

I _think_ this is the day that T. and R. went to Blue Lake and T. swam.
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Today was switchover day. We checked out of the cottage after breakfast and packing up the rest of things. We moved the car from the Bosrijk parking lot to the main lot for Efteling. We went on Symbolica one last time and a few other rides. I had an upset stomach, but had noodles at Toko Pagode and those helped.

We drove north to Heerenveen and visited A. I had no gift, so I felt bad, and there had been some confusion about when we were arriving in Fryslan, but that's okay, we had a nice chat. We went back to Diever in time for dinner and at at the Nieuws Cafe. We picked up bicycles. We chatted with our host. We wandered part of the Monday Market in Diever. And a woman gave A. a pink rose with a little card attached about how Jesus can help you with stress. A little weird, but she didn't ask for a donation, so I'm not going to complain.
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A. and I rode Symbolica; we went through Octopus during the early half hour and rode it with T. and R. A. and I had waited through an hour plus line the day before, but honestly, this wasn't that much shorter a wait.

She really likes the play space in the back of Octopus. It is pretty cool. We also did the Panda Droom movie (Saturday, maybe?) and the Haunted House (which was kind of boring).
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We were all half asleep when we landed. We retrieved R.'s checked bag without difficulty; I kept me and the kids back a ways so as not to distract him, but he would have let it slide by anyway except I called out to him to grab it. So I drove the rental car.

He navigated using google maps and the car GPS (we had them set the language to English). We arrived at Efteling but could not go into our room until 3 p.m. (this is always so sad, because I want nothing more than a nap when I arrive 6 hours earlier in the day).

We did go on some rides. I took A. on Droomvlucht, and it started pouring down rain when we came out. We tried to wait it out, but we got soaked. We went to Bosrijk and I changed us in the loo, but I took too long changing and she wandered off which scared me half to death. She has never done that before. After that, we just sat in the car until it was time to check in. It was blissfully quiet and no chance of anyone disappearing.

I tried to eat some lunch at Octopus, but I was still half asleep, and couldn't tolerate the smoked salmon sandwich I picked out and I think it had cream cheese on it anyway. Oh well!
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The shower work continues. A man from the water district came by, checked the water pressure at the service (fine) and then determined that the pressure reducing valve was set low. Really low. Like, 40. With my eager permission / encouragement, he turned it up to 65. Wow. The difference. Why didn't we do this years ago? Hmmmm?

When R. got home from work and T. back from the sitter, we were picked up by car service and whisked to the airport, where we had fast food and got on a plane. We ate some more food (vegan option! Pity I wasn't hungrier!) and slept. Yes, we actually slept. Short flight, tho, only 6 hours. Morning came quick!

We continue to approve of Delta Airlines. Of course we love JetBlue, but they don't have transatlantic flights. Yet.
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I got a short walk with M., while the sitter waited with both kids. I got a long walk by myself later in the evening.

R., A. and I went to Crossroads for dinner.

The man working on the shower pointed out that water volume to the house was very low and we talked about that. I called the water district. They asked a few questions and laughed at me for taking so long to complain about it. They are going to send someone out to check it out.

This is probably good to get done before power washing the house. I told that person about the issue, and he's going to pursue it with the water district as well; he apparently knows people there. And everywhere in this town.
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The man arrived who is going to be redoing our shower. The dumpster was delivered shortly after he arrived. And the plumber arrived some hours later. I expected it to be demo only today (my assumption and my bad), but nope, plumbing happened, too. No scary surprises and only one significant discussion once everything was opened up. When the original shower was installed, they changed their mind about some things and framed the back in a bit and moved the drain from where they originally planned to put it. We removed the framing, to get a slightly bigger shower (even after doing the prep for the tiling and the tiling); drain stayed where it was. We'll have to get a new piece of board in for the ceiling but that's not a big deal. Turns out we had failed to buy a shower valve, so R. went to Home Depot in Hudson to pick that up. And with the adjustment in the dimensions, I ordered some additional tiles for the wall and the floor. All in all, a really productive day. I really like the man we hired, who I found on the internet and only finally met for the first time today. Turns out I'm the first customer he's ever had who he never set eyes on before he showed up to do the job. I'd sent him a picture of the shower, so all of that was as expected, and R. did the measurements so those were as correct as they could be until things were opened up and we understood what was going on there.

T.'s sitter was kind enough to hang out with both kids for a half hour so I could get my one mile walk with M.

I moved a case from the unfinished back into the finished 3rd floor space, where the two drawer filing cabinet had been that I moved downstairs. I then moved some of the things that had been in the hutch on the ledge into the case. I did some decluttering while I was at it. Lots of envelopes from wedding invitations with our old return address printed on them; no point in keeping those any more.

R. and I got takeout from Benjarong. We really enjoyed it. A. really hated the smell. Poor A.! I thought she was so congested from her cold she couldn't smell anything, but apparently her nose is clearing out a little bit.
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I took T. to the horse. We had lunch and dinner at home. He had leftover birthday cake for lunch. We split a frozen pizza (bold brand dairy free and gluten free -- I care about the former not so much about the latter) and had frozen baked fries. Not healthy, but also quite convenient and cheap.

I did a short walk with M. Later I did a three mile by myself. I talked to T. about doing a run for his track log book. He opted for the 3 mile and didn't even do the Windsor cut off that makes it a bit shorter. On the way, I saw a neighbor who speaks little English. We always wave and smile at each other. This time, he stopped and with a big smile indicated with gestures (pinky finger, then running in place motions with his hands) that he'd seen T. run past a little before me. So sweet of him to stop and tell me that he'd seen my son! I really love my neighbors and my neighborhood.

A. did not go to the horse; she has a cold. I did remember to donate her boots, however. Finally. They've been in the car for weeks.

T. and I ran some errands. We got cash from the bank. We got some things (tooth brush, tooth paste, tooth brush holder, face wipes) that were on his list from CVS. I got some groceries at Roche Bros. We finally donated a bag of things that I'd been meaning to drop off at the middle class guilt reduction station for weeks.
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It was a busy day. R. picked up the cake from Roche Bros. We were supposed to get it the night before and R. tried, but they had put "Peg" on the cake instead of T.'s name. Ooops. They fixed it.

I took T. to martial arts. His teacher gave him a belt rack when T. asked where he would store his white belt when he got his yellow belt. A little decluttering on his part! Very nice of him. We stopped at the library in Boylston so I could return the book I had borrowed a couple weeks earlier and not returned because of various cancellations. Then we went to track. After that, we went to Party Lab in Billerica, where T. got a balloon and some paper plates, napkins, forks, etc. and candles shaped like the number 1 and the number 2. After that, we went to McDonald's for lunch. Then we went to Altitude for his birthday party. Up until a few days earlier, we had been expecting maybe 5 kids to show up, but a bunch of people who had been "no" switched to "yes" and some people who hadn't rsvp'd came. Amazing! Not the way it usually works! We actually had one more jumper than the minimum (10). Everyone was really nice. Some people knew each other from other places (preschool in town). Some people knew each other from earlier parties (at Altitude, no less!). Everyone was fun to talk to.
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My sister asked for Studio Ghibli movies if I have any. I wasn't planning on getting rid of any DVDs during this declutter, but, what the heck. I put them in the mail to her today. There was a boxed set with subtitles and three Disney dubbed movies.

Bighearted Books came to pick up the 3 bags and 11 boxes of books. Which was rather more than I had planned, but that's okay, too. I had to transfer them all from the second floor to the garage (ugh). And I had to scrounge around to find space for the contents of a plastic bin.

I'm going to try to learn from my walking partner and declutter the physical books a few a time from now on. I think if I did a half dozen a week, I'm at a point where it would take a couple years.

I'm currently reading two physical books:

_Succeeding with Difficult Clients: Applications of Cognitive Appraisal Therapy_, by Richard Wessler, Sheenah Hankin and Jonathan Stern. I like the idea of thinking about a person's stance in terms of dominant/submissive, active/passive, friendly/hostile. This gives them a really elegant structure for thinking about certain personality disorders, and understanding how best to develop rapport, by having the therapist adjust their stance to be appropriate for the client (which may match, or may complement), or if that is not possible, presumably helping identify a replacement therapist.

I feel like the book is pretty theory heavy, however, especially for a book with "Applications" in the subtitle.

_Discipline without Damage_

I picked this up off a discount pile at Willow books before they did their closeout sale. On the one hand, this ought to be right up my alley: attachment oriented, fundamentally anti-discipline. It's a connections oriented way to help kids develop and become healthy adults. Unfortunately, as one might expect by a book with Discipline and Behave in the title, it's probably way more structured than anything I can tolerate. I basically haven't found anything I like a lot better than _Parent Effectiveness Training_. I probably should quit trying. But in the meantime, I'm reading this, and being super picky about how she talks about Bowlby but not Mary Ainsworth (I'm so used to books focusing on Mary Ainsworth and only mentioning Bowlby, I had sort of forgotten that Ainsworth gets erased in a lot of the standard treatments). And how she seems to seriously believe that anxiety is more common now than it was in the past (!!!). And a variety of other historical inanity.

These may be the only (non)reviews I post about these books. I may not finish them. But I'm going to try to get in the habit of describing what I see that is good and not so good in books I am trying to read before sending them along to someone else.

ETA: A. and I went to lunch at Julie's Place. R. took the hutch and lateral file to Savers. A. found some sort of song identification game on Apple TV and we are having fun playing it together. We are also (for the fourth time, I think) still playing Atomic Hangman with her cousins and aunt (my sister) over FaceTime. That is weirdly entertaining, altho we had a whole string of technical difficulties today that we had to work through.
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During the day, I moved the bookcase that was in a 3rd floor dormer down to the second floor hall. I moved it into a location then occupied by a metal stand (one of two in the house, they've been used for a lot of things over the years). The metal stand stood in front of the window (there isn't much to it, so it didn't block the light much -- these stands make good plants stands), awaiting the next few developments.

I found media boxes in the basement. I unloaded the CD shelving unit in my office into the media cases. I lowered the CD shelving unit to the floor, onto a towel. Alas, I lost control of it on the way down and it hit a media box on the corner, breaking the lid and a Laurie Berkner CD jewel box, but otherwise miraculously not damaging anything else (or me). I slid the CD shelving unit over to the second floor hallways, but decided that since it was made of solid maple and the shelves don't come out, it was too heavy to move it upstairs.

I finished purging filing cabinets.

When R. got home, we moved the CD shelving unit upstairs to the dormer. We move the lateral file in my office to the middle of the room. We moved a 2 drawer filing cabinet with a pull out tray from the 3rd floor to the second floor office and I transferred what was left in the lateral filing cabinet into the 2 drawer cabinet. We also moved a short bookcase from the unfinished space downstairs to where the CD shelving unit had been.

The office shredder lubricating and sharpening sheets arrived from Amazon. I cannot adequately express how amazing these are. I am no longer worried the shredder is going to die.

We moved the lateral file to the first floor playroom. R. was thinking about maybe getting it to Savers, but we ran out of time. He also emptied the hutch that goes on top of the lateral file (it was living a separate life on the 3rd floor) and moved it down as well. I found some hardware for the adjustable shelves and put it with them. They are waiting to go out.

The boxes and bags of books are always waiting to go out tomorrow morning.

I snagged some Mickey frames and some steampunk clubhouse pals figurines from the 3rd floor to put on top of the short bookcase now in my office and to hang above the filing cabinet and the short case. I moved a couple pictures from the office up to the 3rd floor.

Earlier in the day, I had lunch at Julie's Place. T. got to make pizza at his sitter's adult daughter's place with her family. It turned out well and he had a great time.

Once all the furniture was moved, I poked around a bit figuring out what to put in the bookcase. Mostly, I'm collecting stacks of physical books from the bedroom and office, and shelving them. I'd like to get back to No Stacks of Books Anywhere. At least for a while.

Both the trash and recycling bins are full; they go out Thursday, so after tomorrow, I can start getting rid of things again. I also need to make a run to recycle / safely dispose of a bunch of small electronics.
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The painter finally came by! I'm so excited. He's going to -- at least this is the plan -- powerwash the deck, the house, the front stoop, the brick walkway from the front stoop to the driveway. He's going to paint the deck. I am _giddy_, because we've been trying to get him (or another person recommended by someone we trust totally) to come out for possibly years now.

T. and I went to Applebee's. Then we went to the horse.

Later in the evening, I went to the hardware store to buy battery powered LED stick up lights for a couple closets and the bar. This is _so_ _much_ _better_ than trying to do things while drooling on a pocket LED light being held in one's teeth.

Shredding project continues. There is a ton of empty space in various filing cabinets and file boxes now. Consolidation should start happening fairly soon. Shredder may die, however. I ordered some lubricating and sharpening sheets from Amazon. If the shredder dies, there is an AmazonBasics I can replace it with.
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T. and I went to Sudbury BMW to pick up my i3. They replaced some parts associated with the fuel mixing in the Rex. All better now, or at least the check engine light is off again.

Then we went to Dunkin Donuts, where we discussed -- at his request -- why WW1 and WW2 happened.

After that, we went to martial arts. He was in the group, because of vacations.

Track in Boylston was canceled due to rain. So I still have book from the library I need to return. I did, however, get to go home and get A. instead and take her to Merrimack Valley Pavilion for a birthday party. Unfortunately, she got up late and had breakfast late, so she never had lunch. The arcade triggered a series of Why Won't the Claw Give Me What I Want meltdowns, amplified by inadequate calories on board. She cried through half of mini golf but was starting to get better when it was time for cake and pizza, which never goes well. I was feeling optimistic tho because they had cheeseburger sliders, but she didn't like the bun, the cheese or the patty, so I pulled the plug and we went to McDonald's. She cheered right up after she got some food in her and was sitting quietly for a little bit. Life is hard sometimes. I'm going to establish a rule going forward: no arcades for A. She isn't really interested in the games, and the Stuff machines are too frustrating.

Still working on the file purge and shred project.

ETA: I also stopped at CVS to pick up a gift card for the birthday boy; I'd had the rest of the present ready to go for a day or so. I also went grocery shopping at Roche with T.
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Revise Energy showed up to do the insulation work; they were not able to to everything that was projected, once they got a better look at it. But they did a fair amount. R. got everything cleaned up and mostly put back against the walls after. I'm still waiting for the book pickup from Bighearted Books and Clothing.

I took A. to her physical. That went fine.

I had a phone call with my friend K. That was a lot of fun.

I walked the short loop with M. and the long loop by myself.
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Some years ago, I decided I didn't want the ugly metal filing cabinets around any more. I failed. I failed because they didn't belong to me, and most of what was in them didn't belong to me. I did succeed in banishing them to the unfinished space, but I regard the whole fiasco as ... well, a fiasco.

In the course of getting my stuff out of the ugly metal filing cabinets and/or out of deteriorating bankers boxes from the 1980s or thereabouts, I wound up creating some caskets of paperwork. Some of the contents of the caskets was financial paperwork. I knew when I created these caskets that they were that: containers for the dead. And recently, one of these containers over flowed and I decided that as long as I was decluttering, I might as well take a poke at that.

One of the first steps I took was to go through a bunch of particularly bulky financial paperwork which is especially useless and just pre-emptively put it, unexamined, into the recycling bin. I sort of filled the recycling bin with this sort of thing. And that cleared up enough space I could have just ignored the rest. But I thought, what the heck. I'm here anyway. So I started reading some of the less bulky items to see what they were like. After I read some of them, I had a _very_ clear idea of whether any of it was worth saving (answer: absolutely not). So a few more cubic inches went into the recycling. The bulky and the not so bulky both had the virtue of No Account Numbers Or Addresses on them. Yay! No shredding required. The rest of the casket, not so much.

I starting to really get a handle on how much it takes to get the Staples brand shredder to overheat. And this -- in conjunction with the massive volume of paperwork cranked out by brokerage houses in the pre-bust 2000s -- is why the paperwork is in a casket instead of cross-cut and bagged and in a landfill somewhere.

But you know, I have things I can do in between shredding bouts while waiting for this thing to cool off again. I may actually get through the backlog.
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I had a walk with M. today. I ran Roomba over most of the downstairs (not the playroom). I did some laundry and ran the dishwasher. I had all my meals at home.

There was a huge thunderstorm with lots of heavy rain. The breaker flipped in the living room, causing the network to reboot. I had to go down to the basement to turn the breaker all the way to off, and then back on again. Shortly after that, we had a full power outage, forcing me to reset the clocks on the microwave oven and the range.

I am planning a Bookcase Shuffle, that will lead to the elimination of one major piece of furniture: the vertical file and hutch (currently living separately on different floors, they used to live next to my chair but I rearranged that a while ago). I'm going to move a 2 drawer filing cabinet to where the vertical file is, and shuffle a bunch of media cases, so that R.'s CDs are nearer his computer and my files are in my office, and the printer has a place to live, but I get a real bookcase in my office. Step Zero of this project is emptying out as much as I can from the vertical file, which turns out to be a lot. This isn't, "empty stuff out to put into a different piece of storage furniture". This is, "empty stuff out into the recycling bin or donation boxes". I moved the shredded down to my office in the meantime because there was kind of a lot of stuff that really should be shredded (mostly a lot of old IEP progress reports and some old paperwork from doctors visits that I just don't see any value in keeping).

One of the things I am really noticing is that I have old organizational schemes that made sense before I really committed completely to using a password manager, getting rid of my key ring and going entirely paperless. They've become caskets of dead things. Opening them up and getting rid of stuff means NOTHING in there is from the last 1-2 years, and while I can't throw it all away, I can throw a lot of it away.

A. binge watched some Paw Patrol today. We also worked on the supplies and donation lists for school in September. We sharpened a lot of pencils, but this time, I decided we really are going to send her to school with a bunch of those gift / fancy pencils that build up so much around the house. I found perfectly acceptable colored pencils and an unused box of crayons. She still had her scissors from last year, and she had bought a couple pencil cases at Staples recently. Donation stuff (hand soap, wipes, tissues, ziploc bags, etc.) we had about half of around the house; the other half I ordered from Amazon. Amazon is back ordered on a lot of it, but I don't care when it arrives -- there is about a month before we really need it anyway.

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