First day of school 2021…part 2…

I sent these kids out the door at staggered times for their first day of school.

And then I just cried by myself in my room….just kidding!

I did a quick jump for joy and then got to work at home cleaning up the mess that was summer. Based on my calculations it will only take me 15 more school days to get the house back in order. 🙂 It was everything I imagined and more and I was more than disappointed to learn that the second day of school was a half day – what kind of mean joke is that!?

And a few more pictures from our big day:

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First day of school 2021…

Our highly anticipated day (with extreme temperatures of 111 degrees) has come and gone and each kid came home with their own version of the day.

Briggs had a great first day of school. He did tell us that the class almost missed their recess because the kids weren’t singing good enough. Not sure what that was about, but luckily the class redeemed themselves and the crisis was averted. He loved his pepperoni and crackers he had at lunch and he didn’t understand anything his Spanish teach said.

Cannon was happy to report that he sat by Avery at lunch and on the bus and played with her at recess so that is basically his best day. He also enjoyed his music class today and was a little bummed they didn’t do more math. 🙂

Bennett had nothing bad to report. He loved playing soccer at recess and there’s a new kid that is really good. He talked about how sweaty he got at recess and just how sweaty the collar of his shirt stayed long after recess. He has decided collar shirts are better left for cooler weather. He loved the fact that his teacher gave him an apple today and read them some stories.

Hunter admitted to being a little anxious starting junior high, mixed with some excitement. Of course as soon as he got there, and started classes he said it was all good. He recognized a lot of people from his school last year, sports and other social connections. He loved riding the bus (which was not the case for Hallie) he figures its just another 1/2 hour that he can spend with his friends each day!

Hallie came home less than enthusiastic. Her high school is undergoing some serious renovations but they’re only part way done and none of the area she sees has been updated yet, she was hoping it would be further along, instead, the campus is just torn up. She was also bummed that she didn’t have more friends in her classes. In a school of almost 4000 kids the chances of knowing people in your classes are slim – but there’s always a hope. And that hope was dashed today. The redeeming factor of the day was her friend’s birthday who brought Cane’s for lunch. The good thing about Hallie is she easily makes friends so although she doesn’t know any kids in her classes today, she’ll make friends before long.

Tomorrow is another day – a half day, but another day nonetheless!

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Wonderful and hard…

Ten years ago, I sent Hallie to kindergarten and she left me home with two little boys. There were no tears shed that day – she was ready, I was ready…and time hasn’t slowed down since.

Every year since, I’ve sent my kids off to school at the start of each year, full of excitement, for them and for me. And for years I had two little kids at home despite how many I sent off to school! But time marches on and before long, Cannon went to school and left me with just one kid at home. It was so much easier to run errands with just one kid. And life changed dramatically when he stopped napping because we were no longer held down to a schedule and I thought that was the best thing ever.

Tomorrow my kids go back to school and once again there is excitement all around. But this year is significantly different than any other year because I’m sending my youngest off to kindergarten. So there’s an additional level of excitement for me. I am entering uncharted territory and looking back at this picture, it’s hard to believe I finally made it. After having kids in my home all day, every day for 16 years, I will drop the kids off and come home to a quiet house – where I can do what I want for the most part without being interrupted by much.

What’s funny is my good friend is also sending her youngest to school and we were talking about what we want to do with our new found freedom. She was concerned about finding productive things to keep her busy…and I can’t not think of things I want to do. So much so that I’m realizing there won’t be enough time in the day to accomplish all the ideas running through my head. And every time I walk through my house, another three things get added. Clean this, organize that, build or paint that…And that’s just pertaining to my house! I want to do more mindful meditation and scripture study, I want to help at AZ Brainfood and volunteer in my kids’ classrooms more frequently, I want to work on making more family videos and organizing photos and memory books…there’s really no shortage of ideas.

So for now, I’m going to take it one day at a time and try and piece our home back together after a summer whirlwind. And then I’m going to re-read Essentialism and Atomic Habits before I set out trying to accomplish the world.

I can’t help but think of all the years I’ve been in the trenches of motherhood, specifically little children, and it was wonderful and hard and I learned so much and we had so much fun. And now I get to start another chapter of wonderful and hard and with it will come new challenges and new growth and I’m excited and ready for it.

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Bear Lake…

Every summer, my extended family (parents and siblings) gather together. It’s a different location every year, we usually pick up an VRBO in Idaho or Utah that can accommodate our group. It’s the only time each year that we’re all able to gather and the only time I see my sister who lives on the east coast. It’s a week my kids look forward to every year – they love time with all their cousins.

Although the location changes every year, the theme is always the same: Play hard.

Sun up, to sun down we play hard. We are always in need of a vacation from our vacation because they can be physically exhausting. 🙂 And if there is a moment of light that isn’t already planned, you better believe there will be a group at the tennis court. I need to start taking lessons just so going to the tennis court to join in the fun is an option for me!

We spent a day at Bloomington lake (which I wrote about here).

We spent an afternoon at Bear Lake – it’s lower than I’ve ever seen it which means the beaches were beautiful and long and nice sand. We played every sand/lawn game imaginable and took kayaks out for a little adventure. (My brother owns every lawn game and each year he teaches us something new. This year we learned Kubb and Ramp shot and both were great beach games – add to that the regular games we play like horseshoes, Spikeball and bocce ball and there was never a dull moment.

We spent one afternoon going to the Minnetonka Caves – just a short drive from the northwest side of the lake where we were staying. This was a guided, paid 1.5 hour tour that is only open during the summer. Bennett dubbed this as his highlight Bear Lake activity. It was interesting and the tour guides were great. 440 stairs into the cave…which means that many stairs coming out as well! But Briggs’ little legs handled it without complaints. It was a chilly and consistent 40 degrees in the cave which meant pants and sweatshirts to stay comfortable. They were very cautious about COVID and required masks so that humans don’t pass COVID to the bats in the cave. The irony was not lost on us. 🙂 They also wouldn’t allow children under two to enter because it’s unsafe for them to wear a mask so we had to do some swapping so someone could stay behind with my sister’s baby. There’s another cave in the area that is an ice cave and isn’t guided and we thought that would be a fun one as well but we didn’t make it there this year.

These cousins played at the pool together, they made bracelets (lots of bracelets), they had air soft gun wars, they played all their other made up games and they stayed up far too late. There was never a dull moment and there were tears shed when it was time to close another reunion chapter.

They have no idea how good they have it to gather every year the way we do – they have special relationships with one another because of the time invested. It’s always a highlight of every summer.

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Bloomington Lake…

One of our adventures during our time at Bear Lake this summer included a day trip to Bloomington Lake, a cold mountain lake. It was a quick 1/2 mile hike to the lake, but the dirt/gravel road to get to the trailhead could use some improvement. We had a high clearance vehicle, although I saw several sedan cars in the parking lot – I’m not sure how they made it on that road!

The short hike was easy and beautiful and it opened up to a small lake with a rope swing and some rocks for cliff jumping. I was surprised with out busy the area was, but even busy we got on the rope swing and had plenty of time without feeling rushed.

Not surprising at all, Bennett was the first to hop in line for the rope swing…but he had never done it, so he was looking for some pointers. We quickly ushered a cousin to the front of the line to show him out it was done. As soon as he saw how to do it, he was ready to go.

After several rounds of the rope swing, the older kids trekked around the lake, over the boulders, and then swam to the cliff area. They had to earn their cliff jumping experience! And I just watched from afar, trying to pick out which kid was jumping when and then I saw a backflip and I knew that was Steve. All his diving days as a kid pay off in these situations.

Our afternoon scenery was beautiful. With so many fires every where, the air had been smokey for weeks and the higher we climbed in elevation to reach this trailhead, the more clear the air was – truly a breath of fresh air.

We passed several people as we hiked in and everyone said how warm the water was this year. I was so hopeful and convinced I would do the rope swing – I love rope swings! And then I felt the temperature of the water and realized if I jumped in, even on this warm summer day, it would take me forever to warm up so I gave it hard pass! 🙂 I can’t imagine what the water feels like on a cold year.

*Highly recommend water shoes for this hike, and don’t forget a towel. Also note that the road to the trailhead is closed most of the year, this year it opened on July 1st.
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