We spent last week school shopping for pens and pencils and dry eraser markers and folders and notebooks and spirals and post-it notes and pencil sharpeners.

Can we just pretend like we didn’t?

It was fun and we checked off the list and filled the cart and I like a polka dotted locker shelf as much as the next person.

But you see.

I’m not sure I’m ready.

Wasn’t it just Valentine’s o’clock?

how to decorate an office


The years used to take forever.

It would be Saint Patrick’s Day and you’d wait for 27 light years to pass and then finally Thomas Jefferson’s birthday would roll around.




Forget about it.  Those holidays seemed like it would take Captain Jean Luc Picard and the Starship Enterprise to reach them.

organizing an office

And now?

The years seem to speed by faster and faster at lightning speed….

….and I want to press the pause button and yell at them to stop.

I want to grab them by the tail and tell them I need an extra minute to catch my breath and adjust.

Adjust to lip gloss shopping with the twins.

Adjust to a driver’s license test today for my son.

Adjust to taking cartoons off the channel rotation.

Adjust to baby steps turning into long-distance running.


All these thoughts and 10 billion more ran through my head as we pushed that overflowing cart of school supplies to the car.  We loaded everything in, turned on the air conditioning and sat there in the parking lot in silence for a moment.

I looked at the twins and smiled and reached for my phone to take a picture.

I wanted to capture this moment.

I wanted to remember.  So that one day I could look at this snapshot and think of the time when school shopping was a thing.

office sign

I held out my hand for the phone and one of the twins grabbed it.

Laughing, I squeezed it and said, “I was reaching for my phone.”

“I know,” she said.  “But my hand is so much better.”

She’s right.

And I’m holding on tight.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Mercy Heston Mercy Heston

    Oh KariAnne! It really DOES go by waaaaay too fast! I remember holding my babies, and now my babies are having babies. Just who gave them permission to grow up?!? And your daughter's hand? That is just the sweetest thing EVER!

  2. Image for Yvonne Yvonne

    Tears are dribbling down my face! It's been many years since I've had the delight to purchase school supplies but this September I get to go school shopping with my first granddaughter, Daphne, who's going to Kindergarten! She was just a baby an eye-wink ago and now she's five. Enjoy every glorious minute. They go by so quickly.

  3. Image for Sherry Sherry

    You have the sweetest kids Karianne-I too thought time went way to fast raising my daughter . Now we r enjoying a lovely, kindhearted granddaughter. Sherry

  4. Image for Lisa Lisa

    This is my first year not having to buy school supplies and it's bitter sweet. It all went by in an instant! When I see back to school set ups in stores or commercials I simultaneously want to cry and jump for joy. It's the oddest mixture of feelings I've ever had.

  5. Image for brocanteuserose brocanteuserose

    Ok, that's the feels. :) My oldest is turning 16 next week. 16!!!!!!!!!!!! I swear instead of sweet 16 party/decorations, I want to decorate with "congratulations its a baby girl" paraphernalia, as I rock her in the corner, while I sob the ugly cry. Probably not how she is wants her party to go! haha I will hold it together for the most part, but she still may get a cake of tears. Where does the time go!?!?! lol

  6. Image for Ellen Ellen

    You are so right- capture these moments and hold on tight, because they are gone so quickly!! In the blink of an eye they are grown and off on their own adventures. Back to school shopping is a distant memory for me, even though sometimes it doesn't seem possible that so many years have flown by. Good Grief- in a few more years it will my Grandson going off to school (well, in 3 1/2 more years!) Thank-you for another sweet trip down my own memory lane. Beautiful post and photos. P.S. Drivers license is sure to give a few gray hairs to any Mom!

  7. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    You know...just between you and me...I really didn't enjoy shopping for school supplies years ago. Now...what I wouldn't give to do it one more time! Hold on to your daughters ' hands for as long as you can! ;)

  8. Image for Carole @ Garden Up Green Carole @ Garden Up Green

    That time goes so fast... We homeschooled so was able to avoid the shopping side of supplies - I normally waited till they went on clearance after school started. Being a new empty nester I can tell you that yes.... allow yourself to stop, enjoy and adjust... Because when the house is empty there's so much time to adjust that it's easy to spend hours looking back. For me though when I look back I see some pretty awesome memories that just make me smile. Oh and that driver's test - the hardest part is waiting to see if they passed.

  9. Image for Mary Mary

    What a sweet story KariAnne! Time really does go faster the older you get! I so remember the days of shopping for school supplies, school clothes, sports physicals etc. for my 3 sons. And then all the school activities start back up, conferences, meetings, games......enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!

  10. Image for jennifer farnes jennifer farnes

    i have to go somewhere selling school supplies every single year and smell the pencils. i miss that back-to-school-shopping so bad. but every year i smell the pencils and it takes me right back. and yeah...time flies on wings of lightning.

  11. Image for Cindy Brown Cindy Brown

    I know what you mean! I will turn 61 this month and I am asking, "How in the heck did that happen so fast?!?" I still get pangs in the heart when I see all of the back to school sales and I will still buy something so that I can feel involved. This year because of my daughter's brain surgery (remember my previous post in April?), I have had to buy school supplies for my granddaughter who is headed (YIKES!!!) to high school. I have to tell you, IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!! So many more options than when her Mom was in school. Time flies but you are doing so well raising your children and making memories. Those memories will sustain you in years to come.

  12. Image for Judy Judy

    I am all choked up. I so remember those day's. My baby is now 41, school shopping days long behind me but I still remember. I remember the day her Dad and I dropped her off as she headed to her next adventure in the Navy. Before we knew it her adventures became ours. We met our future Son (aka son-in-law), welcomed our Granddaughter, then our Grandson. We traveled where the Navy took them, to always be a part of their lives. Our Granddaughter is now in college, our Grandson graduated from high school this past June. Yes, the day's, year's fly by quickly. My daughter is my best friend, school shopping has turned into craft shopping and book club meetings. I wish for you and yours more wonderful adventurers.

  13. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Taking my last "baby" to college next week. I cringe when I hear parents grumbling at their children while shopping and wish they could enjoy every good and bad moment. I have loved being a mom for 33 yrs ( yes, mine were spaced out according to God's plan) . Precious gifts at all stages

    1. Image for Wendelin Wendelin

      Ah, Sharon, when my youngest (who is currently 5) leaves for college, my eldest will be 34. I joked a couple of years ago that I was the only mom I knew who was on purchasing dorm bedding and a nap mat for preschool in the same order, but I see I'm not alone! But I, too, love being a mom but aren't we and KariAnne the lucky ones? I see too many parents who approach is as just another chore and don't seem to be having any fun, which to me is so sad, for all involved. I wish I could slow down the hands of time!

      1. Image for june june

        OHHHH ladies - I'm not feeling too alone. My youngest is 22 and I turn 64 next week. It was God's plan to finally bless me with my boys at 38 and almost 42. Although I wish I was a younger mom...would not trade being their mom for anything!

  14. Image for Terri Terri

    OH NO SHE DID NOT................ OKAY WHERE ARE THE TISSUES????!!!!!! Seriously????? I mean ... does it get any sweeter than that????? It truly is the little things.. the sweetest little moments that matter the most!!!! My little 9 year old grandson came to visit me at work the other day... we went to lunch together and then he was off on another summer adventure with the "fam" .... little did I know (until later) the sweet kid left a note in my desk drawer.... "I love you " From Ty !!!! My heart just melted!!! And YES.. the note is taped inside that drawer !! Where I see it daily!!!!! :) :) :) ......... Thank you for sharing YOUR moment!!!!!!!!

  15. Image for Kristi Kristi

    {sigh} Isn't that the truth? My not so little man will be starting preschool this Fall, so we are just starting that school shopping journey - but boy, I could have sworn I was just rocking him to sleep the other night. Life moves so fast now, doesn't it?! Soon he won't want to hold my hand as we walk down the stairs each morning or kiss me a zillion times each time we say goodbye ... you can bet I'll be enjoying every second of it while I can! xo

  16. Image for Jeanne Jeanne

    We're all doing what is expected and intended...we are the teachers, they the students, with the goal to spread their wings and for us to be so proud. Special hugs for the new school year and another huge step forward...for everyone. :)

  17. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    You are so right about time going by too fast. I remember wishing for summer and now it's gone. Where did it go?? I'm not ready for frost and ice and cold. I want to appreciate today and before I fully appreciate today it's tomorrow. And our precious kids reach adulthood much too quickly. I think I'm getting teary-eyed. My oldest grandson is now in high school. I remember watching him toddle with an Easter basket looking for eggs :-( *sniff* And your sweet daughter?? Awww! What a precious moment. Have a wonderful day!! I just can't think of anything funny to say :-(

  18. Image for Vicki Vicki

    My sweet babies have finished school. One spent years in Iraq and Iran, now home and a sweet little girl of his own. My other baby graduated college one day and moved to DC the very next day -by herself- and has been there for 6 years. I must have had adventurers! Your sweet children are making so many memories! What a wonderful childhood you have given them.

  19. Image for Debra Milam Debra Milam

    You are so right about back to school shopping with your child/children, however, this time of year makes me long for a new book-sack (that really dates me), colors, notebooks, pencils and everything else for myself. Seems like I went from 6 to 63 in a big hurry. LOL

  20. Image for Claudia A. Claudia A.

    Hold on tight. The years really start going fast. You wake up and your baby's 39. Married. Or is it because my body has slowed down so much with age? Whatever, the case I hate it! Hold on tight.

  21. Image for june june

    Oh brought tears to my eyes today. Just remember all the great memories you are giving them of your time together. For me it was difficult the first school year after high school graduation. I would bake chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven when they got off the school bus every year. To this day when I hear the buses in my neighborhood I'm reminded of some wonderful memories. Both of my boys are out of college now...but I remember their first year away I made certain chocolate chip cookies arrived in a care package the first day of classes. They both laugh about it now. They obviously were not warm...but they know the love that went in to them. In a week my youngest starts grad school 7 hours away...maybe a gift card for the grocery store is a better first day treat!

  22. Image for Heldy H Heldy H

    Oh KariAnne! Yes it does go by soooo quickly. I still cannot believe my baby girl is starting High School this year! No more crayons and colored markers. They have been replaced with agenda's, scientific calculators, mechanical pencils and of course lipgloss. Where does the time go? I am with you friend, I am NOT READY!

  23. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Might as well leave the cartoons in the channel rotation....grandkids, y'know.....time really does fly! Savor it all.

  24. Image for karen karen

    Hi Karianne Oh do I ever feel your pain. I dreaded school starting , sending my three off. It's downright cruel to tell new mother's how fast the time goes by and to enjoy your kids and yet...

  25. Image for pamela lepage pamela lepage

    Its tax free weekend and it is bittersweet, Now that my kids are adults I do miss the noise in the house, and the kids They are off on their own Journey called life. I do miss our family time but boy is nice not to have dinner fixed and on the table if i don't want to, and I don't have to be at daycare by 6:00 to pick up my buddy. But I cherish my memories and my children and grandbabies. I so enjoy watching and listening to my Daughter tell me about them. I am so proud of the women they have become, and my son I so proud of him as well someday he will be a great husband. But for now I'm enjoying watching my childern becoming adults and knowing that they will be ok if I'm not close by. They are my greatest joy!!

  26. Image for Vivian Vivian

    Love the sweet moments and memories by all the readers, but what I really want to know is this - Where do you get the chalk pen that's shown in the "Hello Friend" chalkboard photo? Is that in with the school supplies!? LOL

  27. Image for Liz Liz

    Wait til they go away for university, then get jobs in Asia (as Canada is difficult) and are gone for years and years and then one gets married in Japan (wonderful traditional Japanese wedding last November (we had a great time I didn't want to come home! we were there for 1 month) and our youngest son (we have 2 boys) is getting married in Korea 2017 (he is marrying a Korean girl, beautiful women (both). So enjoy and cherish every minute with you beautiful children!...xo

  28. Image for Ann C Ann C

    When I told my six year old granddaughter she was growing up too fast and I couldn't believe how time goes by so fast. She said, "gee grandma, it seems like it's been at least a year since my last birthday" nailed it. When my daughter was young I was complaining how fast time goes and that when I was a child the school year and summer vacation seemed the same length. She got a stricten look on her face and said "by the time I'm your age there won't be such a thing as summer!" I had to find a way to explain.... Enjoy the moments.

  29. Image for Susan Susan

    I hope your babies know they have the best mama in the world! Keep savouring those sweet memories because, you are right, in a blink of an eye, your babies will be transformed into women, living lives of their own. But know these days are precious to them, too...they are the building blocks for their life ahead. K, now if you'll excuse me, I have to do a tissue run...someone's been peeling onions up in here again!

  30. Image for lori lori

    My son (25) graduated in May, bought a house and moved out. He is a critical care nurse and routinely works 60+ hrs a week and nights, so i get to see him maybe every two weeks. My daughter (29) and her husband live 12 hrs away. We talk every day but it is not the same. We totally suck at the empty nest thing. I was crying at my desk when I read your article. I cry nearly every day at this very clean, very empty nest! I hated school supply shopping, as it really did mark the passage of time. I feel for you.

  31. Image for Louann Watts Louann Watts

    Undoubtedly you have the best blog on the Internet! Beautifully, creative thoughts put into words abound!!!! For this, we are all blessed because it is a wonderful way to begin each day. . . . . A cup of coffee and Thistlewood Farm! Now, I buy school supplies for a precious grandson and it is truly just as much fun as it was when I bought for his dad! Enjoy your day!

  32. Image for Julia Julia

    I loved this. Mine are 30 and 32 and they both got married in the last year. Where did the time go? I dreamed of these days for so long and now they are in the past.

  33. Image for gina gina

    Something tells me they will never be too far away. I live four miles from my mom and speak several times a day. But you sure changed my attitude about school shopping! But I'll never be emotionally ready for school to start.

  34. Image for maureen mawby maureen mawby

    We don't start school here until after Labor Day but it is an "adjustment" for sure. We just have to enjoy each moment as it happens. As much as I enjoyed the school days, I'm really enjoying this phase as well. All four of them are grown up and can look back on their high school years and see that everything works itself out and it's okay to be different. I'm still having wonder-filled memories with my kids as adults. It get's even better!

  35. Image for Kris Kris

    We are also an after-Labor-Day start date for school and I am trying to "not see" the back-to-school items in the stores. My 10-year-old is currently resisting wearing training bras ("why do we have to grow up, mommy?") and I feel a bit of that resistance, myself. Seems like I just get a certain stage of development figured out and my kids move on the the next one. This isn't my hard year, though--next year is--when they will be starting high school and middle school. I'm going to try to soak in the last year of elementary school as much as I can!

  36. Image for Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces

    So sweet, KariAnne. You are very wise to be present in those moments, because they really are fleeting. Sometimes I would stop and take it all in and think to myself, "I am making a memory". I keep those memories like treasures. It seems like just yesterday I was taking my oldest to kindergarten...and now I have 9 grandchildren. Enjoy your special time of life! xoxo

  37. Image for Peggy Peggy

    Remember when older people say, "Enjoy! It will go by so fast." and you roll your eyes? Well, now I am the older person and it did go too fast. Now there is a grandbaby and I am hanging on for dear life trying to suck every precious deliciousness memory out of every nanosecond. Squeeze that hand tight.

  38. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Oh my word. You made me cry. I remember just wanting to be done with the whole school hassle and now? My son is turning 29 next week. Seriously? When did that happen? And my baby girl - she is 26 and about to become engaged! ( I didn't tell you that! It's supposed to be a secret. ) Wow. So yes, hold onto these moments. They'll be gone before you know it. Big hugs, Cecilia

  39. Image for Barbara Moore Barbara Moore

    My daughter sent me a picture today of my oldest grandchild getting off the school bus for the first time. Kindergarten?? When did that happen?? You're so smart to hang on to every minute. They don't even last 60 seconds.

  40. Image for Loryl Fisher Loryl Fisher

    I write this with my eyes full of tears and thinking how fast time flys. Now that I don't teach anymore it is still hard to pass the BTS supplies and not look. My son is way past the age of school supplies and my youngest niece is going off to college. At least I had her for BTS shopping. I've been taking my nieces since they were in preschool for a day with Aunt LaLa BTS shopping.We get an outfit, or two: do lunch and have a great time. It all went so fast. Great memories for us both. Grab those kiddos and give them an extra squeeze from all of us!!!!!

  41. Image for Marilyn Marilyn

    You sure are right concerning how time flies. I always felt back to school shopping was fun and exciting. Marilyn

  42. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Yes...don't might miss it. You are so wise and those kids are blessed to have you as their Mom!! I'd love to see those lockers! I am certain they are as AMAZING as those thistles.

  43. Image for Linda Andersen Linda Andersen

    So true Karianne, life just whizzes by...tomorrow it will be Christmas, I hate it!!! I don't have any kids and I'm old(er) and all I can think of is I am so glad I'm not a kid in today's see, I wasn't fond of school, and holy cow, they start advertising back to school in July...they just got out!!! I would have been in a deep depression. I remember when I heard the Miss America pageant was coming up because I knew school was coming! I dreaded that....anyhoo, enjoy those days of with your kids, every second, I believe you do..... love, your friend, Linda

  44. Image for Bonnie Schulte Bonnie Schulte

    And then...and the blink of an eye,you will be attending your first and the oldest of five grandchildren, sweet grand daughter's wedding in two weeks, and bridal shower tomorrow . I am happy, and it is bittersweet also, where did the "years" go? I know it is the way it's suppose to be, but they all grow up so quickly, and we grow old. Still, I know many more memories to come, and like you, I will cherish many of them, God willing. Hold that hand tight KariAnne!!

  45. Image for Michele Riggsbee Michele Riggsbee

    Hello sweet friend! It truly does go by too fast. My two daughters are older than your girls, my oldest will be 31 next week and my youngest is 29! But I cherish the memories! It was wonderful meeting you today and your two lovely daughters! You are truly blessed. We will definitely talk soon about me starting my blog!

  46. Image for Botanic Bleu Botanic Bleu

    KariAnne, There is nothing like the smell of a freshly-sharpened new pencil! And I still do back-to-school shopping... for me! I love all the colored pens/pencils, purple rubber bands, special designed file folders, ... and just wrote a post last week about shopping BTS supplies to find those unexpected beautiful school supplies. Time does fly, but your children seem to live in the moment also. Holding your hand, recognizing the moment! As for driver's licenses... I talked my dad into letting me take my driver's test one Saturday when just the two of us were in town for something else. When I passed (barely, with only a few points above passing), he looked at me and said, "Well, that just shows that everyone who has a license doesn't know how to drive." The only reason he let me take the test was he thought I wouldn't pass it. :) This is one of my special memories with my daddy. Judith

  47. Image for Filona Filona

    It does fly by....We will be moving our daughter in to her college dorm in 20 days (but who's counting). At any moment I find myself crying. I cried while I was putting laundry into the washing machine! I am flooded with emotions both happy and sad. My baby can't be leaving in just 20 days!!! Like I said time does fly by.... I look forward to being with her during parents weekend... when she comes home for thanksgiving break....etc..

  48. Image for Design Chic Design Chic

    I must admit that one of my favorite things in the world was always buying supplies for the new school year and now I never miss the opportunity to update my office in August. But like you, I can't believe how fast the years go...keep holding on, KariAnne!! Happy weekend!

  49. Image for Pam Clark Pam Clark

    One of the many great things about being a teacher - I get to buy new school supplies every year! And even though my baby is now 23, I throw in a couple of packs of pretty pens and sharpies and a new sketch pad for her just for old time's sake.

  50. Image for Sue Sue

    Karianne,my grandchildren are going back Monday. Seems like yesterday my girls were in school. Cherish this time, it goes so quick. Your children are really something.

  51. Image for Michelle Mortensen Michelle Mortensen

    I have just been a bundle of nerves, tears, emotions... In the next two weeks I am interviewing for a new teaching job, registering BOTH of my girls for high school (even my baby - and, yes, she wears lipgloss), and moving my son to his new home at COLLEGE!!! I'm a wreck. I mean, my son was just drinking out of a sippy cup and playing with Batman figures (wasn't he???). Now, he is a legal adult and flying the coop. It really does fly by. I am treasuring each moment and am so glad you are, too. Hugs, Michelle from Simply Santa Barbara P.S. School shopping is the BEST. Love the smell of fresh pencils and notebooks!

  52. Image for Impoverished Preppy Impoverished Preppy

    Nicely done post. Absolutely true - it does go way too fast. But more importantly, this was nicely framed. Your writing shines - the voice is so clear and compelling. Cannot wait to read your book!

  53. Image for Stephanie Ray Brown Stephanie Ray Brown

    Truly you blink sweet friend... There are no back to school shopping for supplies or clothes or picking out that so important first day outfit. No getting up early to wait for this bus or flying over hills to get to school on two wheels because you Missed the bus. Enjoy every second. This going down the back to school memory each August can be pretty tough on an ole momma for sure! Prayers for all to have a wonderful school year!

  54. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    You look in the rear view after the kids are gone and it happened in a blink. Enjoy all the moments as they go by way to quickly. By the way, your children are so sweet! :)

  55. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    "a driver’s license test today for my son"... HOW EXCITING! Lots of prayers for you and him and for safety!

  56. Image for Rebecca Turner Rebecca Turner

    Aw, SO sweet! Glad you've got the sense to pause and appreciate these fleeting precious moments. And apparently, so do your girls! Good job, Mom!

Comments are closed.