Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Second Grade Girl

Last week, Kate started second grade! Time is a thief!

She was so excited because second grade is upstairs at her school, so she really feels like a big kid.  However, when we actually got in the car to drive over there, I could tell she was getting a little nervous. (So unlike her!)

The last 2 years, she's wanted me to drop her off in the car line on the first day and just be on my way. Both years I've told her that I "needed" to help her carry her school supplies in. Ha! Really, this mama just needed to do some mama stuff while I still can. 

On this day though, she said "Mama, you're gonna walk me in, right?"  

Yup, sweet girl. I sure am.

She found her seat, with crayons and a coloring page, saw some friends, and was good to go. So far we've done this 2nd grade thing a solid week, and seem to be off to a good start! Here's to a happy year filled with lots of good learning!

Oh and then after I dropped her off, I had to take a picture of what "back to school" looks like for all the non-students out there. This was my morning commute to work. Man, the summer drive to work is so much easier!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Mission Trip 2018

At the beginning of August, our church always goes on a mission trip to Wears Valley Ranch in TN. It is a children's home and we do all kinda of projects. Basically, we do whatever they need.  Landscaping? We'll do it.  Roofing? We'll do it. Picking potatoes in the garden? We'll do it.  Staining tables/benches? Yep. You get the idea.

It's a trip that started out for our youth group but has expanded to include parents and any (little) kids that they want to bring and be responsible for. I mean it IS a children's home so they definitely don't have a problem with us bringing kids.

Kate has gone 3 years in a row now, and for the first time ever, we brought Karsten. I love that we get to teach our kids about serving others in a tangible way that they can play a real part in.

Anyway, I'll leave you with just a FEW pictures. It's just a small snapshot of what we did all week but if I included every picture that I have from the trip, you'd still be scrolling next week.

First, here's a look back at the last 4 years of mission trips. Bottom right is 2015, bottom left is 2016, top right is 2017 and top left is 2018.

On the first day, some of the girls helped with staining benches that the campers use around the campfires in the evenings.

We had to check out the horses- so beautiful! 

When we drove IN to Pigeon Forge, Karsten saw the big ferris wheel and that is all she could talk about for days. So on Thursday, we had some free time and took some of the kids to ride. This girl was in heaven.

Both of our kids worked hard (relatively speaking). There were a few trees down that needed to be cut up and cleared. Karsten helped gather up the smaller twigs and branches. 

Kate took a turn with the blower and "helped" blow leaves. 

This place is beautiful, and we love coming here each year.  This church building was barely a shell last year.  One of our jobs last year was to spread pea gravel underneath the foundation. Just a small part, but look at what it is now. So beautiful in fact, that one of our couples got engaged on the front steps of this building during our trip! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Celebrate Kate

Earlier this summer, toward the end of July, we gave Kate two options for her birthday party.  We told her we could have a big party at home, and invite all of her friends and family. OR, she could pick 2 friends to spend the night for her first ever sleepover.

Honestly I thought it was a toss up as to which she would pick.  She struggles with making decisions.  So much that you can ask her something like "Which is your favorite, red or pink?" and she won't decide.  She will say they are BOTH her favorite.

So I had no clue which one she would decide to go with, but in the end, she decided to have a sleepover.  And it was so much fun.

We got pizza.

We had birthday cake (of course). 

We caught lightening bugs. 

And played lots of basketball. 

We had ice cream sundaes with ALLLLLLL the toppings.  And of course, movies on the living room floor. 

They stayed up WAY late (no surprise) until I made them turn the TV off and go to sleep.  And then, they were all up by 6am the following morning. So we hit up Chic-Fil-A so they could eat and blow off some energy in the playground.

Later that day, Kevin and I took the girls to a local waterpark. 

So much fun. Kate loved it and the next day, she was already asking when she could do it again! We loved celebrating our girl and her big SEVENTH birthday. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Kate is Seven

Today is Kate's day, and she is officially a seven year old! 

I promise it feels like the days, months, and years are going by at a faster pace than they did in years past. A few weeks we were visiting the city where she was born and Kevin and I were reminiscing about when she was a tiny newborn. It feels like yesterday. In a few weeks, she will be a second grader. 

Kate is kind hearted and a nurturer.  I can see her being a doctor or a nurse as she gets older.  When Karsten (or anyone) is hurt, she is the first to ask to see their boo boo, and the first to try to find a band aid.  A few weeks ago, I wasn't feeling so great so instead of cooking, Kevin was going to run out and get dinner with the kids. Kate just assumes that if you don't feel good, it means your stomach hurts, so before they left she went and got me a trash can and a coke, just in case I needed them. (I really just had a headache but I love that she thought of me.)

She loves babies, little kids, and despite her allergies, she loves animals. She watches Wild Kratz on PBS all the time, as well as animal videos on YouTube. Kevin and I often get filled in on random trivia about all kinds of animals. 

She is independent and strong willed - both traits that can serve her well as an adult but cause many battles in our house over who is in charge! I think the teenage years will be interesting...

But because of her independence, I can see her telling me that I'm not allowed to walk her into school on the first day this year.  Hey - she actually tried that with me last year but I told her that in first grade, it's required for parents to walk you in. Ha! I mean, I needed at least one more year to do that- for me, not her!

She is my girl, the one that made me a mama. She is the first baby that kept me up all night long, the first one I rocked to sleep, the first one that I got to see roll, then crawl, then walk and run. I love her so and while I wish each year would last a little longer, I also can't wait to see who she grows up to be.  

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Vacation 2018 - Part 4 (Beach)

Toward the end of our vacation, we decided to go to the beach.  We found a great resort area in Myrtle Beach and decided to spend a few days there to round out our trip.  Myrtle Beach isn't typically the sort of place that Kevin or I would choose.  We like the laid back, almost deserted, no-traffic, relaxing kind of beaches. Myrtle Beach is not that.  But, the kids love it. To them, Myrtle Beach is excitement and fun so that's where we went.

All in all, this was a great addition to our vacation. We did relax some. The girls had a blast. We spent some good quality time together. Can't ask for a better end to our vacation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Vacation 2018 - Part 3 (Lake Days)

After our quick trip to Raleigh, we came back to my parent's lake house and just had a few low key days.  We went to the park...

Of course we played in the lake...

(Karsten is a tree climber, if you haven't noticed. Doesn't matter if the tree has limbs she can reach or if she can't, she'll find a way to climb it.)

We walked around downtown and checked out the topiaries. 

We went to a local splash pad, drove to a nearby town for pizza, went to another town to go to the mall, and generally just had fun together!


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