Gratituesday: School Shopping 2016

It’s been months since I shared a Gratituesday post. Today I’m feeling all sorts of grateful, and would you look at that? It’s Tuesday.


Last night our oldest packed up and moved back into the dorm. Over hugs, excitement, and a big sigh I was overcome by these two realizations:

  1. This year is a million times less difficult than last year. In line with her freshman son last year, I was the mom bawling hot tears like a baby while trying to sign registration papers. Me. The one moving her son five minutes away from home. We were entering a huge time of transition last year, going from The Coppinger6 to whatever it was this new thing was with only three boys left at home. Happy as I was for Asa, I cried as if I’d just closed the cover after reading the last page of my favorite book. Because I had.
  2. This year brings a whole new flood of emotions. I am so excited for Asa this year!! I remember the beginning of my sophomore year of college and it was my very favorite. There are way fewer unknowns, and everyone gets to reunite with their amazing college friends after being apart for the summer. I was practically jumping up and down in anticipation for him last night (while handing him soap, granola bars, kleenex, a pillow case…).

So here we are. We survived the first year of sending our oldest away from home. He’s grown. We’ve grown. But I’ve not gotten less nostalgic about traditions with my babies (three of whom shave regularly).

You knew this was coming, right? Year after year, we take pictures while school supply shopping. Year after year, I share the pics with you. You’ve watched these little boys grow into men.

Last year, I told the boys we had to do it just one more time. This year I told them to forget about last year being the last time because I just couldn’t not take the traditional shopping picture. They didn’t even argue – probably because we told them we’d take them out for burgers after we shopped.

First, you have to see their school shopping pictures through the years. 2008…








2013 (The year I told them that I am going to take this picture, but you can all look the other way if you want to.)



first day of school 2014 4

2015 (The year I cried while standing with the notebooks and markers and the son getting ready to leave for college)

boys school shopping 2015

And now this year. 2016. Gone are the days we need 25 cent glue sticks. They all needed shoes and the aisle with the 50 cent colored pencils was all out of shoes.

school shopping20161

I tried to talk Malachi into a nice, normal face. He was well aware that this picture would be posted for the world to see. Second time’s a charm?

school supply shopping4

C’mon, Malachi. Give me a good one.

And so he did. But then Asa wasn’t ready, but I didn’t realize it until too late. He woulda not appreciated me sharing his face in this one, so I did what any nice mother would do. I cropped his head off.

school supply shopping2

After spending $5,824,481 on shoes, we headed out for burgers. I decided to hold my phone as high as I could over our table full of family to get a picture of all six of us.

school supply shopping6

Two and a half. Okay. Try again. Because maybe my arms are longer than they were two minutes ago?

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Three of us, plus the nice family in the back. Wait, wait. I’ve got this.

school supply shopping5

I don’t even.

This is the point at which I gave up, stood up, backed up as far as I could, sat in a stranger’s lap, and took a pic of my men. Oh, these guys. How did we get here? 

school supply shopping8

When we got home, we loaded all of Asa’s stuff into his car, and sent him on his way. There were no tears this time, unless you count the ones I’ve shed since looking at these “through the years” pictures.

What a great God we serve. I see these pictures and I’m reminded of all God has brought us through. There are more than just crayons and growing boys in these pictures. These pictures are reminders of life, and sorrow, and growing pains, and struggle, and love.

We grow. God remains the constant, faithful, gentle, loving God. Praise Him for His goodness this Gratituesday!


  1. Julie says

    Wow the boys are so grown up. I love reading your posts and have followed you for many years. Have a wonderful school year.

    Julie in Australia


    Laura Reply:

    Thanks for sticking with me all these years!


  2. Tosha says

    I have loved watching your men grow over the years, and I cried last year for Asa leaving home, knowing that would be me in one year. Here it is. Tomorrow morning we pull out for a ten hour drive to take our oldest to college. I know I’m going to need to haul a trailer of tissues with me. I’m so excited for her, but still feeling the loss. Even my husband says it is much harder than he thought it would be. Now where did I put that time stopping machine? I hate that these kiddos grow up so fast!????????????


    Laura Reply:

    Blessings and hugs to you during this fantastic but hard transition. :)


  3. Jennifer says

    Laura, I often look at your site and reading your fun stories and real life adventures, I think we could be friends! I actually teared up going through your photos of back to school shopping…this might be because my oldest just graduated and my second oldest will this year. WHERE does time go? Thanks for sharing and encouraging us moms to look to the Lord for the good and hard (because none of it is bad since it is all from Him :) )!


  4. Lesley Lemakos says

    This is the most entertaining back to school post I’ve ever seen! A perfect chuckle for this rainy morning. My youngest starts her senior year of high school tomorrow. They don’t stay little long!


  5. says

    So fun! Fun, fun, fun, hard, fun, fun, a few tears, fun!

    My oldest is also a college sophomore this year, but no tears because he still lives at home. My second/last son is going to be a senior this year… perhaps a few tears?

    Once in awhile I do miss the old, “simple” days, but most days I’m just happy to have not only two great sons, but two life-long friends.

    Good job raising those boys/men/I never know what to call them anymore. Thanks for sharing the journey with us!


  6. Karen says

    I love looking at your yearly pictures! Thanks for sharing them. Our oldest son will be a senior in college 4 1/2 hours away, while our youngest son will be starting college 12 hours away.

    Today I was going through our school supplies form all our homeschooling years. It was nostalgic and amazing at the same time.

    Enjoy your new school year.


  7. Brandette W. says

    Ahh, I love when you do these Back to School posts. I have been a reader for a long long time and I can not believe how big the boys have gotten. Especially Asa, man he really grew this past year and looks so much more mature. How does that happen so fast??!!

    Our son just started 1st grade. I already dread him starting high school & college. I want my little baby boy forever, please stop time!! :)

    Thank you for sharing your growing boys with us each year. It is so fun to see and look back on.


  8. Laura S says

    What a great post! I cried with you last year for Asa. My kids are both in high school now. It won’t be long for me. We gotta enjoy every moment with them while we can!


  9. Jenn S. says

    I am so grateful for the internet and bloggers like you, who put themselves out there and let me know I’m not alone! My oldest is starting high school this year and my youngest, middle school. We’re all done with elementary school. :( I take beginning and end of the year pictures and share them with family. It’s bittersweet watching my girls grow up. I so appreciate all of these other parents sharing these experiences with me. Thank you, Laura.


  10. Sarah says

    This post is a great encouragement to me today! Looking through the pictures of your boys year to year, I realize, I will be at that point someday. And I can imagine how quickly it will pass by. My oldest is 6 right now. Lord, let me live fully in each moment and relish with joy every second of motherhood.

    Thank you for your work and daily witness, Laura! Blessings to you and your family!!!!


  11. says

    Awe, I love this post! I’ve been watching your boys grow through your yearly back to school pictures. I feel ya on the shoe shopping. We have three boys and I feel like my part time job is keeping shoes on their feet. Mercy. And you are exactly right, the 50 cent glue aisle does not have tennis shoes…unfortunately!


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