Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Letting Them Fly

Summer to fall is not a transition I look forward to! There is something so wonderful about not having a schedule or agenda and soaking up our summer days together.  I love having all four of my kids together.  They are still at a age where they are not begging to be in activities, at camps or with friends.  They love being outside, playing with each other, going for walks or bike rides, swimming, parks, picnics and backyard fun!  This summer we did just that.  We didn't do any outside extra activities but instead just enjoyed our time together.  But it was inevitable the date on the calendar would come.  The kids do love school and were excited to see friends, meet their teachers, play and learn.  Even though it is hard for this mommy to see them growing up so fast I do love seeing them grow in so many ways through out the year.  I know God has blessed me with these little ones for such a time as this.  In a Bible Study I am doing the leader said, "God doesn't call us to possess our children but instead to steward them!" Wow, yes they are not my possessions but instead God has given me a pretty amazing responsibility to steward them and to point them to Him.  Little by little we love, train, teach, model and pray like crazy as we let them fly!

I can't believe Alexa is going to be in 3rd grade this year.  I remember thinking when I taught 3rd grade that they all came in so little and innocent and leave 3rd grade at a totally different spot. They move out of that little kid I love school to more the big kid attitude.  I am not sure I am ready for all of that.  I can't believe we are so close to a new "maturity" level! Alexa is ready and excited to be a 3rd grader and I am excited to see how she will grow and be stretched this year!

I can't believe my Emma is already a 2nd grader.  I still go back and look at pictures of my girls when they were 3 and 5 and heading to preschool.  Emma gets a preview into 2nd grade because of all the fun things her  sister did so she can't wait! 

I can't believe my baby is off to Kindergarten this year.  It is going to feel very strange dropping 3 off this year.  The kids told me it was a good thing I have Max yet!  Shane is more than excited for Kindergarten.  He is so excited to be at the big school with his sister, recess and hot lunch.  I am praying he will think all the learning is fun too.  Shane will go full days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday until Christmas and then after Christmas will go five days.  I am so glad that Max and I will have him home yet for two days!  We are going to be soaking up our time.

I've started the tradition of giving them something to put on their backpack at the beginning of the year to remind them of something.  The girls got little frogs this year to remember to Full Rely On God!

Shane was very excited to get his first backpack accessory.  He got a little light to remind him to always be a light for Christ in everything he does! 

Their back packs are ready and so are they! 

It is tradition at our house that daddy drives them to school on their first day.  I of course can't be left out and meet them there with my camera.  It is also tradition that they go out for breakfast so this year that meant that 3 kids were up, ready, pictures taken and out the door by 7! The kids love their first day of school traditions with their daddy! As I took the picture Eric said, "Wow, this year I don't even have to bend over for the picture" : (  I think that means they are getting growing up!  

Max was quite sad when everyone walked out of the door with daddy without him.  I think it is going to be a sad day for this little boy today! He isn't going to know what hit him since his 3 siblings that dote on him are going to be gone today! 

Shane is very excited to have Mrs. Wynja this year.  She was Emma's Kindergarten teacher so he thinks that is fun! She is a great teacher and I know she will be a great match for Shane.  She is loving and yet she is firm.  He does best when he knows where his boundaries lie.  I will say I never really worried about my girls and their behavior when they went to school but Shane .... he may give me a run for my money! This sitting still and not talking to your neighbor thing just may do him in! He is my most active and social child ... not the best combo for seat work at school.  

Look at all those blue eyes!!!! Emma is super excited about her year.  She had Mrs. Odens (on the left) last year but just weeks into school she went on bed rest and remained on bed rest her whole pregnancy.
Emma had been pretty bummed because she couldn't wait to have her since her sister had her in 1st grade.  She was over the moon excited that she got her again.  Her teachers team teach so she thought it was fun she gets two teachers.  She also knew who Mrs. VanZee (on the right) was and thought she had the best teachers ever! She is very excited about her year.

Oh man, this picture breaks this mom's heart.  I got a text from Eric when they were at breakfast that Alexa was in tears and nervous about school.  Alexa is my perfectionist and carries a ton of anxiety at the beginning of a new school year.  I am glad she communicates how she is feeling and we talk and pray about it but it doesn't make it easy to watch.  It is hard to know how to help her and I know some of it is who she is.  It is one of those situations where her strengths are her greatest weakness.  Alexa usually takes a month or so to settle in but she has never been this anxious on the first day of school.  It was hard to kiss her goodbye and walk away! I know she will be fine. I know she is in good hands.  I know this is all part of letting her fly ... it just doesn't make it easy! 

Alexa was super excited about her teacher. She was actually my brother's jr high teacher ... I know crazy ... she looks like she is 30.  I have heard amazing things about Mrs. Neimeyer and feel like she will be a perfect match for Alexa! I am praying she settles in soon. 

My baby is  off for his big first day of kindergarten!

As I said good bye and wiped some tears.  My good friend said, "Give me your camera I need to take a picture of all that is left :( I know I will be fine and we will settle in.  We will get into a routine and I know I will cherish my time with Max and we will love having our time with Shane on his days off.  We will embrace this new year and all it has to offer.  I can't wait to see how my kids fly just a little higher and further this year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Lake Lovin'

There is so much to love about the lake! 

Max dug right in and embraced everything the lake had to offer this summer.

As I said .... he literally dug right in.  He quickly became a fan of the sand .... he just couldn't get it figured out that it was something that shouldn't be eaten.

It is always fun no matter how old you get to play kitchen with the sand and water.

There were always cakes in the oven and soups simmering on the rocks.   

There were often breaks from playing in the sand to do things like  rowing around on the wake board.

Or having fun just tossing a ball around or trying to float on it! 

Swinging was one of Max's favorite things to do.  He had some siblings that were eager to give him a push and if papa was around he always found himself in his favorite swing being spun in circles.

And this exchange between these two doesn't even need words. 

The big kids found their way out to the raft weather the sun was out or not! 

Frog hunting is another fun adventure at the lake.

Max seemed to find his way into the water from the sand every time.

It was always fun driving the boat with daddy!

Or just enjoying the view!

The kids never seemed to get sick of the water! 

And sand and water equals hours of fun! 

Seeing these two brothers together this summer was so much fun! 

The one thing that will never grow old and will always be welcomed every evening are the beautiful sunsets. 

We feel so blessed to have an amazing place to have fun, enjoy family, soak in God's creation and build memories.  We are BLESSED! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Favorite Summer Hangout

Wild Water West is one of our favorite hang out spot in the summer.  Not only do the kids love all the water fun but many of our friends have season passes so we spend many of our hot days together having fun.  I do have to say this year looked a little different on my end.  Last year the kids were all great swimmers so they could swim by themselves.  Alexa and Emma could go down the big slides themselves and we all enjoyed the wave pool and lazy river together.  There was plenty of time to chill with friends and catch up on life.  

Well this year this little man kept me on my toes.  There was very little sitting this summer ... I spent most of the summer running after this little cutie.  I know this stage will pass and as busy as it was I love this age and everything Max is seeing through his little eyes and experiencing for the first time.  It helps that his little personality is so out there that there is no guessing how much fun he is having in life.

Max LOVED the water and there was NO fear.  He came at it full force and usually with his mouth wide open!

The kids spent a ton of time at the Pirate Ship.  It didn't take long and Max was going down the big slides with his brother and sisters.  Forget the baby slides ... the bigger the better.

There was plenty of fun to be had especially when their friends were around.

Emma loved spending time on the pirate ship too! 

Max seemed to think all the slides were fun!

The kids loved it when their cousins came to spend a day with them.  It is always fun to get treats on special days. 

Shane is what we call at our house "the snack king." He loves snacks and seems to be an empty pit where snacks are concerned.  There are plenty of treats offered at Wild Water West but to the kids disappointment they only get treats once in a while.  You can't take food into the park so we pack our lunch and head out to the parking lot.  I wish I would have taken a picture of our set up.  My friends and I got a system down of parking close to each other and having a rather large picnic in the parking lot with all of our kids.  I am sure our parking lot picnics will be memories the kids will remember in years to come.

The kids loved just swimming around in the pool and climbing on the animals.

The girls love being big enough to go down the slides by themselves. 

What a finish Emma! 

Everyone loved it when daddy came along because that meant we all got to go on the big slide. This was Max's first time down the big slide.  I wasn't sure what he thought of it but in a matter of minutes he was screaming with excitement! 

When daddy comes it also usually means that we get treats! 

We had such a great summer and logged many hours at one of our favorite hangout spots! 

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