That golden light, though

Day two at the beach was magnificent: perfect weather, fantastic home-prepared meals, pool swimming in the morning, a bike ride with my favorite budding cyclist after lunch, a lovely late afternoon and sunset at the beach, and priceless time with family throughout. Memory-making doesn’t get much better.

img_8170

img_8167

img_8169

img_8187

img_8190

Making friends, as she did everywhere she went today

img_8195

img_8234

img_8249

img_8251

img_8262

img_8309

img_8301

img_8278

img_8288

img_8290

img_8291

img_8321

img_8317

img_8324

img_8329

img_8348

img_8357

img_8370

BFF

Bear with me, folks: it’s one more summer catch-up post.

You may remember that over spring break earlier this year, the kids and I made the trip to Florida to visit my dear friend Lila and her family, only to arrive just as The Plague (i.e. a nasty bout of the flu) descended on the household. This summer, Lila stopped by for several days with her kiddos for a visit that, in an obvious win, entailed no vomit. The expected chaos of five children ensued to great delight, and we finished as we do every time, wishing we lived closer to each other. I always think during these visits about what it will be like when we are old ladies, reminiscing about those crazy years when our children were young. I am lucky to have friends in my life who are part of the way-back stories and are still here to help write new ones. Thanks for the newest memories, Lila. Let’s keep them coming.

IMG_7623

IMG_7634

IMG_7636

IMG_7639

IMG_7649

IMG_7675

IMG_7685  IMG_7686

IMG_7687  IMG_7688

IMG_7696  IMG_7698

IMG_7700

IMG_7705

IMG_7708

IMG_7712

IMG_7722

IMG_7732

IMG_7733

IMG_7735

The best we could do at a group shot of kids who really wanted to be sliding down the hill

IMG_7738

Ready, set, slide!

13882425_10154424019518385_6875267874823811900_n-1 (2)

Finally, Family Camp

It took weeks, but I finally got our photos from family camp sorted and edited. I’m slowly catching up after a very busy end to our summer.

Our church conference runs a summer camp east of Nashville on Center Hill Lake. I admit to being a little skeptical about how a full week at camp was going to go. All of us sleeping in a one-room cabin? Lina navigating cafeteria meals and structured activities? The heat and bugs? Being thrown into forced socialization with people I didn’t know? It could have been a recipe for disaster.

Thank goodness, it wasn’t. All four of us had the best time. We were able to be very flexible with scheduling activities and could leave plenty of down time for relaxed swims in the lake or pool and naps for Lina. The variety of activities meant there was plenty for everyone to do. We didn’t have to worry about meals; we just showed up on time, they fed us, and the food was actually pretty decent. It was hot, but we spent most of our time in the water or in air conditioned spaces. The socialization never felt forced, and we really enjoyed the time we spent with the other families. The camp itself is well maintained and in a beautiful location. And as tired as we were after our full days, we all slept pretty well. It was a remarkably inexpensive and relaxing week’s vacation.

IMG_7499 IMG_7500

IMG_7504

The camp’s chapel building

IMG_7507

Corin was pretty stoked about getting the top bunk.

 

Version 2

Lina never fails to make friends with the big girls.

IMG_7526 IMG_7527

IMG_7530

IMG_7532

IMG_7536

IMG_7539

Well, it was worth a shot…

IMG_7542

We’ll just call this one, “Bye, Felicia.”

IMG_7554

Corin, on the other hand, loved the horses. This was his second ride. The three of us went on a trail ride earlier in the week while a kind staffer watched the horse-resistant Lina.

IMG_7577

Lina’s motto: Never be without a good book.

IMG_7585

IMG_7603

IMG_7606

No surprise as to which activity was Corin’s favorite

IMG_7618

 

IMG_8576

The camp photographer was available for portraits. It was…problematic, as indicated by Lina’s tearful smile.

IMG_8591

IMG_8601

IMG_8638

I admit, I underestimated family camp. We’ll be back!

First day of preschool, year 2

On Monday, Lina returned to her much-loved early childhood preschool, where she attends four mornings a week. (Yes, I am four days late with this post. My poor youngest got the short shrift of a very busy week.) She was so excited about going back that she spent most of the drive singing, clapping, cheering, signing “school” and saying the names of her teacher and therapists in succession. By the end of her first day, she had learned the names of half her new classmates. She’s the old pro this year, and the staff tell me she is happy to boss everyone else around. Her speech therapist is ecstatic with the speech development she experienced over the summer. She has a new OT who I think will be wonderful, but it’s otherwise the same team as last year, and we are so excited to watch her progress unfold over the year.

IMG_7777

From the classroom open house on Friday morning

IMG_0787

First full day and ready to go

IMG_0788

13900190_10155098221844745_5088795064837644994_n

I am so grateful for the bond these two have developed over the summer. They sometimes drive each other crazy, as all siblings do, but they have had so much fun playing and laughing together. 

 

Obligatory first day of school post

We have been busy over the last few weeks trying to soak up the last bit of summer. We spent a week at family camp, enjoyed time with friends from out of town, and yesterday closed things out with a pool day and dinner out. Photos of some of those things are forthcoming, but for now, we mark Corin’s first day of the new school year. (Lina had a brief open house and will have her first day on Monday.)

Temperatures outside are still sweltering, but here in the South, we head back to school in August. The lead-up is a little bittersweet as I mark another milestone in my kids’ lives, but there really is something awesome about the first day of school. It has that shiny freshness of a new beginning, with the pent-up anticipation for all that lies ahead. My son’s nervous excitement does something to my heart as he marches off to conquer this newest world.

Happy first grade, Corin!

IMG_7748

 

IMG_7754 (2)

IMG_7756

Corin feels it’s very important for everyone to know that the dinosaurs on his backpack glow in the dark.

IMG_7759

IMG_7764

Drop-off was a whole new experience compared to last year’s delayed start for kindergartners. Mostly, this year involved a lot more walking.

Version 2

Straight to business, with barely time for a smile