Monday, August 28, 2017

August Randoms. . .

We are still squeezing in as much summer as we can - even though school has already started.
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Curtis still likes getting photos of his creations - after all of the hard work he poured in to putting it together.
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Bella spent a whole Saturday morning baking cookies for her youth group fundraiser.
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Yum!
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We are starting to let Bella babysit the boys. We've left her in charge for ten minutes here and there. We bumped up to an hour (when we were just next door at church). But this particular evening, we went to a wedding reception and were gone for about three hours. I texted her about every 30 minutes and these are a few of the photos she texted back from their time. She had them do some crafting.
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And they played games.
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More crafting.
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More games.
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She did such a great job - and this will open the door of possibilities for me and Andy.

More time at the pool. Bella likes to practice her gymnastics off of the diving board.
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My first two blog books arrived! Now I've got a tangible document of this blog. I still have several more to order, but they are kind of expensive; so it will just be a few at a time.
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More creations that he wanted to remember.
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The boys are both playing soccer. We got some rain on opening night. The players (and parents) were drenched!
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By the time it was Curtis's turn to play, the rain had passed. (I sat for another hour in my wet jeans. Not comfortable!)
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I heard some snoring. . .
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Salty finds himself in some unusual places. I have another photo of him on our roof!
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Blowing bubbles.
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Picking some corn for dinner from the Dodds' farm.
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The boys, especially, love their corn!
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Andy built a fire pit in our backyard. We have one in the valley between our house and the church, but this is more convenient.
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Our happy girl.
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One perk of my job is being at the school when my kids need me. Curtis had some pain in his ear. He came to my room and I was able to take him to the doctor. He had an ear infection.
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Graydon has this bad habit of coming home, taking off his socks, and leaving them on various tables. At least these are balled up - that is not usually the case. We've started charging him 25 cents every time we find his socks on a table. Time to break this habit!
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Monday, August 14, 2017


We had our traditional Back-to-School dinner two nights before school started. It is usually on the night before, but with Open House at the school and Bella's gymnastics class, I knew that that evening would feel too rushed. And it was!

Our menu that evening included spaghetti, pepperoni bread, bruschetta, and caesar salad.

It had been a while since I made pepperoni bread. I think that more cheese ended up on the pan than in the bread, but it was still a nice treat - one that Bella had been requesting for quite some time.


Wednesday morning rolled around. None of us really felt ready. It was August 2nd! Our minds and bodies were still in full summer mode. It wasn't until about a week later that I started to feel a little more with it.

Bella's first day of SIXTH grade! It's her last first day of elementary school.

Graydon's first day of THIRD grade!

Curtis's first day of SECOND grade!

Three kids ready (or not!) for school!

Andy's parents were in town, so they were able to get our family photo.

We didn't get to talk about this much on our back-to-school dinner night, so this little print-out is something that we discussed during one of our evening meals that week. When school assignments or activities or expectations start to feel overwhelming and difficult, I want them to remember this. . .

It doesn't have to be perfect, but we need to give it our best.

I always like to interview the kids at the end of their first day of school. My voice is pretty loud in these videos compared to their voices. Plus there is some road noise at times. I hope it's not too distracting! Next year I'll remember to do the videos inside. And, the videos are kind of long. But there's a lot of detail about their first days as well as some general information about each of them during this phase of life. :)

Bella:


Graydon:


Curtis:


We've completed nine school days so far. Curtis still protests when bedtime rolls around. It's tough trying to fall asleep when it's still very much light outside!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Our final weeks of summer vacation. . .

We've been back to school for a week-and-a-half now, but I still have some summer photos to share.

After being home from Wyoming for a few days, the kids and I headed up to Wisconsin so that Bella and I could attend my cousin's baby sprinkle. The first evening we were there, we had a cookout at my parents' house. Later on, we busted out the slip n' slide!
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I'm not exactly certain what Graydon's technique was, but he was super fast and went really far.
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When we stay with my parents' we go out for breakfast a lot. One morning, Bella decided to leave a little note on our table.
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After breakfast, we took a little walk along the lake. Bella took some pictures.
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She played around with the filters on my phone.
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Sunday was baby sprinkle day! Here is mommy and big sister!

Cousins playing at the sprinkle.
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While we were gone, Andy did some shopping. Our local JCPenney is closing down and they had huge sales going on. He bought a bunch of pants, dress shirts, and ties and ended up saving over $600!
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Lunch with cousins at Culvers!
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We spent the afternoon at the Rec Plex swimming (no pics from that). After that was a Subway dinner at Jodi and Aaron's. I ended up at the kids table! Dad joined me. :)
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We went back to the Rec Plex in the evening to go ice skating. My hair was still slightly wet from swimming and I was freezing! But we had fun.
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Graydon took a tumble and ended up with a bloody lip. It was early on during our time and he didn't want to skate anymore. But thankfully he came back out.
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On Tuesday morning, I went with my mom to her water exercising class. Later that day, we all went to the Racine Zoo! The kids loved getting so close to the birds.
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Bella doing her best lion impersonation!
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I *think* they were looking at a rhino here.
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Dinner that evening - Curtis ordered a Root Beer and was excited that it came in a special glass.
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Graydon has wanted to learn to knit. I've learned a few times, but didn't keep up with it and have forgotten. I've tried to teach him to crochet, but that can be tricky. On this trip, my mom was able to teach him to knit!
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The day after we got back home from Wisconsin, Bella got her braces put back on. Her previous round of braces did end up making room for one of her eye teeth, but not the other.
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She got six brackets this time instead of just four. Thankfully, she had a pretty good attitude about getting them on again. "I'm ready for a change." she said. :)
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Mabel loves peanut butter for a treat. I couldn't scrape any more out of the container, so I just gave it to her to lick what she could. Amazingly, she was able to get about 3/4 of it!
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During our road trip out to Wyoming, Graydon wanted to solve a rubix cube. I tried to help him (via Google and You Tube) and ended up wanting to do it myself. I wasn't able to solve it during our trip, but finally got it a couple of weeks after we got back. I've already forgotten the algorithms, so I probably won't be able to do it again. But at least I can say that I did it!
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Mable loves to lay on our bed while I'm reading on the glider in our bedroom.
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On July 24th, Andy, Bella and Graydon went off for a week at church camp! This was Graydon's first year.
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This was the crew attending from our church.
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Curtis was feeling a little sad that he couldn't go. (He'll get his turn next summer). I declared it "Curtis and Mommy" week and we had some fun times together. Our first adventure was riding bikes to the park.
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And we played Battleship (he won).
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Dinner at Chick-Fil-A followed by some time in the play area and a peach shake.
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He colored this picture from his kids' meal bag when we got back home.
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And he completed the craft that came inside.
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We also played Life. He beat me in that one too. I wasn't even letting him win!
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Meanwhile, here are some from the crew at camp. . .
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Graydon sustained a few minor injuries throughout the week. This one was a tennis ball to the eye.
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They received the mail I sent them on the last day of camp.
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Back to Curtis. . . he finished a Lego kit he was working on.
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We rode bikes to get ice cream and shared this. It was our dinner that night.
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We spent some more time at the park after that.

Later at home, he made some freshly squeezed watermelon juice!
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Before the school year had even come to a close, this was the image in my mind of summer vacation. Sitting outside with a cold drink while doing some leisure reading. This is relaxation to me.
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Curtis discovered Puss in Boots on Netflix. On the morning that Andy and the kids arrived back from camp, he wanted to dress up as Puss. He grabbed a cowboy hat from our dress-up bin and even found a feather to stick in it. And he also wanted help finding his boots. Here is our Puss in Boots!
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I loved having this special one-on-one time with Curtis.
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We were also happy to get our campers back home!
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Bella, on the other hand, wasn't too happy. She was actually in tears for the first few hours of being home. She loves camp and had such a fun time and was sad to say goodbye to her camp friends. Plus, school was starting in a couple of days so she felt sad that summer was coming to an end. Of course, this is also the girl who cried on the last day of school because she was sad that she wouldn't see her teacher and all of her friends every day over the summer. We've discovered that the ending of things are just emotional for her.

***

In other news, living in the land of farms and gardens sure has its perks. We get visited by the tomato fairy on Saturday afternoons.
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We decided to make a fire one evening. Salty joined us.
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Graydon really enjoyed the hotdogs they ate at church camp. He ate three in one sitting! We bought that brand and cooked them over the fire.
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And of course, we made s'mores!
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Andy's parents stayed with us for a few days on the way down and the way back from a trip to North Carolina. The kids enjoyed a game of Headbands with Gaga.
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Curtis wishes he could keep his creations forever, but since we can't, photos of them are the next best thing. These are different "guys" that he made.
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As always, it's hard to say goodbye to summer vacation. This summer was filled with so many awesome memories and experiences. But, it's time to go back to school!