It’s summer…

Kids have no concept of time which is a blessing and a curse!

We told Briggs he would go to kindergarten when he was five. So the minute he was five he was disappointed he wasn’t switching classes. We started telling him he would go to kindergarten after summer. Then the first day of summer rolls around and he’s wondering why he’s not in kindergarten. Now we’re telling him he’ll go when we get back from Idaho and for now that’s the most concrete time stamp he can understand.

Today started our first week of summer.

Hunter helped one of his teachers move her classroom and then spent the afternoon at the lake for a friends birthday.

I also attended a birthday gathering for Steve’s sister.

Hallie went to tennis and then had a friend over to swim before playing tennis again tonight and then started her online summer American History class. (It frees up a class for her to have release time seminary as well as a 7th hour sport.)

Bennett also had a birthday party and he was beyond excited for the Harry Potter theme. He told me what group he was sorted into and because I am not a Harry Potter enthusiast, I cannot for the life of me come up with the name of his group!

Briggs and Cannon – they swam. They jumped on the trampoline. We went to Swig and got shark attacks – of course for the gummy sharks. They swam some more.

Summer is the season where the kids have rotating swimsuits and we rarely wash underwear. Have a great summer!

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Love where you live…part 1…

I have found my people in the neighborhood where we live! The people who are quick to respond to my mass text that asks who is willing to bring water balloons to ambush the kids getting off the bus on the last day of school. It’s become a neighborhood tradition that everyone looks forward to. A tradition that was squashed last year with COVID and the cancellation of school.

But this year we brought it back in full force. We had THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of balloons thanks to all the neighbors who contributed. (Which is made significantly easier thanks to ZURU quick fill balloons party pack. I remember the painful process of filling up balloons when I was a kid and you filled up 10 and didn’t want to fill up anymore!)

We made a call to the school and bus dispatcher to let them know that EVERY kid would be getting off the bus at our house for end of the year popsicles. The kids that have been here for a while knew exactly what “popsicles” really meant. The kids exited the bus to greet the neighborhood parents, younger siblings, and any kids in the neighborhood not riding the bus for one reason or another armed with water balloons.

And then the epic battle erupted. I’m always amazed at how fast that many water balloons can go. I saw all the coolers, bins, kiddie pools filled with balloons and I thought it would take forever to go through all them. Newsflash: It didn’t take much time at all!

Some kids timidly avoided the ring of fire and they tossed balloons from the outskirts. And then there’s those (Steve included) that couldn’t help but be right in the middle, soaking wet.

The drawback to throwing so many balloons is you have to pick up that many balloon pieces. You would think it would take longer than it does. But once the battle is over, everyone, kids and adults, picks up tiny fragments of colorful plastic all over our lawn and street. Within 10 minutes, it’s all cleaned up and we hand out all the popsicles.

It’s such a simple tradition. The kids love it and every year the bus driver sticks around and videos the event.

It brings our neighborhood together.

It strengthens our community.

And it’s another reason why we love where we live.

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Last day of school…

We made it.

The kids were far more resilient than I was – they rolled with every new change like champs. I, on the other hand struggled with what didn’t feel normal. I took a very active role in my kids education and to do that across 5 kids was exhausting.

The online learning environment was a struggle and I could see it wasn’t a great situation for some of my kids so we had to adjust. By the time they were finally allowed to go to school in person they were disappointed to learn that half their friends would be attending on opposite days. But they rolled with it. Masks – no problem, they never complained.

After October break they got to go back to a full but distanced classroom and this was probably the happiest day of the whole school year. This came at just the right time to boost morale.

They worked through the never ending changes and rules that never seemed to make sense. Let’s play basketball. It’s postponed. Now it’s cancelled. Just kidding, do you still want to play with crazy rules? They jumped through so many hoops…and they just kept jumping.

They made it. They loved their teachers. They loved playing sports. They loved being with friends again. The school year started extremely rough and I was a ticking time bomb ready to pull them from their schools. Luckily I had a heavy trigger finger! It worked out. There were a lot of not so great moments and I’m hoping the school/district has learned how to manage this situation better in the future in case such a problem arises again.

We are happily closing the 2020-2021 school chapter and hope to not look back or repeat it!

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Soccer wrap up…

Bennett looks up to his older brother so much, so when he sees Hunter playing soccer, he too wants to play soccer. By some miracle, it worked out that Hunter’s coach happened to be coaching Bennett’s year as well. Although Bennett hadn’t played before, we decided to commit a little more time and money than we were originally anticipating and we had Bennet join the same club as Hunter at the lower academy level.

He learned so much and we saw so much growth in him. In the beginning, there were several players on his team that could run circles around most the team and I could see Bennett was intimidated by their skills. But he kept working at it. He ran two miles 2-3 times a week around the neighborhood and he worked on his footwork in the backyard. He knew he had some work to do to catch up and if there is one thing that Bennett doesn’t lack, it’s dedication.

He still has some work to do in the aggression department – soccer is not a timid sport and Bennett is still working on that aspect. It’s not natural for him to fight for the ball so he’s slowly learning Hunter’s “Beast Mode” mentality – we’ll see if it’s something that clicks.

He loved his team. He loved going to practice two days a week for the entire year. He loved belonging to something. He never complained or asked not to go. He was dedicated. He’s committed to another year so I hope next year is as good as this one.

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Another chapter closed…

All good things must come to an end – and that includes preschool. I have paid our final preschool dues and I couldn’t be happier about the situation. Briggs had his final preschool program and even though I have attended this program 8 different times (two years for each kid) it never gets old. Each kid is so different and their performance is unique to them. Bennett is our most animated kid, but put him on a stage and he goes serious. For some reason, Briggs was trying so hard not to show his teeth and that in itself made me chuckle.

Seeing as though the teacher was retiring on the very last year we needed preschool was no doubt a tender mercy. All my boys went to her and there is one particular song where she invites previous students to the stage to sing along. I was hoping to have all four boys there to celebrate our teacher’s final performance, but Hunter knows his recess days are short and he wasn’t about to get pulled from school and miss recess.

But Bennett and Cannon were more than willing and they were happy to join Briggs on the stage to sing.

As you can tell, the theme for preschool this year was trolls and they’ve known all year long they were working for trolls trophies. And they did not disappoint! Briggs is now the proud owner of two vintage trolls which I know were hard to come by for the teacher to find.

This sweet lady has my heart. She has taken my kids in to her home and loved them like her own. Even when I know they were difficult. Side note: Hunter just reminded me of a time he got in trouble at preschool. He was always a mischievous kid and I often wondered how he handled being in her class. Anyway, some girl was using the drinking fountain and in Hunter’s eyes, she was taking her sweet time. Every once in a while she would stop sipping and look back at Hunter standing behind her waiting not so patiently I’m sure. After she would grin at him, she would slowly turn to the fountain and resume drinking. She did this a couple times before Hunter was done waiting and he pushed her head into the drinking fountain.

He has many stories just like that – but this teacher loved him anyway. She trained my boys to be obedient in the classroom and she was strict with them – and I know a few of them probably pushed her buttons. She taught them to read and she praised them and gave them confidence. She loved them. I see it in her eyes and my kids adore her as well. I can’t count how many times Briggs has created a picture that we had to drop off in her mailbox.

I find it a privilege to know we were with her when it ended – a teaching career that lasted over thirty years. And I feel blessed to have been associated with her. In a way, she’s made it so easy for us to move on without sadness because my kids are so ready. I don’t worry about them moving on. They’re ready. I’m ready. We’re all ready and it feels good. We’ve had such a fun preschool run and we have officially closed that chapter. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

We have just a few days left before all the kids are out of school and I’m enjoying these last moments of our one-on-one time. In all reality, he just wishes the play place at McDonalds would open back up – that would be his preference every day if given the choice. He doesn’t recognize the large changes that are coming so for him it’s business as usual. But I see them. I know change is just around the corner so we’re just going to soak in a few more moments.

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