Friday, July 25, 2014

Highlights of Summer

This summer really flew by.  Don't get me wrong, some days were long.  But I really can't believe we are only one week away from school starting!  We made the decision not to homeschool this next year, and we are very happy to have found a charter school near our home that looks like it will be great fit for our three older kiddos!  Deciding not to homeschool was tough just because I actually enjoyed doing it!!  But, right now our two youngest kids are just in need of some special attention, and having the three older kids attend school will be the best decision all around.  All three of them are really excited about it!  Eli and Mikayla have already been attending Eagleridge two days each week, so "going to school" won't really be a new thing for them... but getting up and going five days in a row will take some getting used to :)  And we were lucky enough last year to be approved by CPS to keep Mr. A at home an extra year just to give him more of a foundation for school, so he is now 6 and READY for Kindergarten!!  I am so glad we decided to hold him back... he is a different child emotionally, socially, and developmentally.  Night and day difference from last year at this time.  :)

I really tried to make the most of my time with the kids this summer, knowing that our time would decrease significantly compared to prior years, once school started.  Our family went on vacation in June to Forest Home Family Camp again and had a wonderful time... that will be a separate blog post.  The kids participated in swimming lessons, VBS, and we took lots of outings to various places around  the Phoenix area to keep busy and have fun - museums, waterparks, swimming pools, splash pads, movies, etc.  I purchased lots of Groupons last spring and put them to good use during these summer months!!

Splash pad fun...

These three loved their week at VBS!  Little J will be able to join them next year as he will be 5, and he is already talking about it :)

Mr. A turned SIX on the last day of VBS!  He it taking after his big brother Eli and really developing a love for sports... thus the request of a baseball cake.  Like I said earlier in this post, the change we have seen in this kid from last year to now has been remarkable.  His personality has really started blossoming and I feel like it has just been in recent months we have seen more and more of his true self shining through.  He is very sensitive, just like Eli, but also has the same heart of gold that really cares about being a good friend to others and treating people with kindness.  Once he is comfortable in a situation, it is actually hard to get him to stop talking!!  Ha!  Sometimes at dinner I have to tell him to eat a certain number of bites of food before he can speak again :)  He is still learning to trust adults, and still carries lots of insecurities which he tries to hide with humor.  But he has come so far, and our lives are more greatly blessed because he is in them!!  We love you Mr. A and can't wait to see all that God has planned for you in the year ahead!

I co-led a Women's Bible Study at our church this summer, and so many of my mornings looked like this... I find that getting up early and spending time in the Word really has an impact on my day and the kind of wife/mother I am to my family.  Some mornings it's hard to roll out of bed, but once I'm up I always appreciate the peace of a quiet house, and of course COFFEE!  We studied Esther by Beth Moore, and it has been incredibly impactful.  We have two weeks left and I will be sad to be done with this one!!

Our local theaters here in AZ always offer cheap summer movies for kids.  Basically you choose the day you want to attend each week (we did Tuesdays this year) and you pay $7 for entrance into 10 movies!  My kids loved going to the movie theater every week as it's not something we normally can afford to do as a whole family.  Our family friends who will be adopting our foster sons' two sisters got tickets for the same theater and day, so it was a treat to be able to meet up often and enjoy the movies together.  This movies provided Addy's first theater experiences... and let's just say she is not QUITE ready :)  Ha!  My routine this summer was to get the big kids settled in seats, then take Addy with me to gather snacks, then watch a portion of the movie with Addy, then take Addy out to run in the hallways/lobby, then watch another portion, then take Addy to "play" the video games in the lobby, then watch another portion, then take Addy on a walk around the front patio of the theater to throw pennies in the fountain, then watch another portion of the movie, etc.  You get the idea!  :)

Mr. A and Little J improved SO much in their swimming lessons this year.  Last year Little J literally screamed the entire lesson on his first day, and Mr. A cried and cried and refused to do anything the teacher said.  They did great this year and Mr. A is "almost" swimming by himself... I think the capability is there, but he is still battling some fear and just needs a boost of confidence.  He'll get it soon!  Eli and Mikayla don't really need lessons anymore, but since it's no fun to sit and watch they participated in a more advanced class and are becoming quite proficient in their strokes!!  They also both learned how to dive (the real way) this summer and are very proud of that. :)

Here's Little J going underwater by himself!

And Mr. A practicing those "big arms!"

We had a fun 4th of July... the monsoon was in full swing that week so we weren't sure if we would get to see fireworks or not, but the weather was actually beautiful and we had a great time together as family!  The fireworks were great too!!

Sweet Addy got her FIRST haircut this summer in preparation for her 2nd birthday! She did great and it turned out super cute :)

And then she turned TWO!!!  Such a big girl!!  She is definitely two these days... her vocabulary seems to double every day, and she often has us all cracking up at the funny things she says.  She has also learned the lovely art of throwing herself on the ground and tantruming.... multiple times a day.  Her favorite words are "No!" and "Mine!" which she often screams at her older siblings.  ;)  She keeps us on our toes at all times, and often gives us minor heart attacks due to her lack of fear and her enjoyment of heights and climbing.  Good times.  We are so thankful everyday that Addy was born and that we are blessed to be her parents.  We couldn't imagine life without seeing this sweet face everyday!

And that about wraps up our summer... minus all the times I forgot my camera (or forgot to USE it!).  Be back again soon with the highlights of our vacation...

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