Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Our August

 Another month full of everything AND back to school! Now I have not just one, but two, kids in school and it's still a shock even a month after starting. 

But, first, the end of summer break. It was the best!

We made a final visit for the summer to the children's museum. The kids always love "second breakfast" and playing.

Then we made tie dyed shirts together:

A friend gave me the leftovers of her kit and I graciously accepted. We had fun!

And, as always, lots of outside time! We all have bikes now and so we have taken up riding at new locations. Our youngest still normally walks or rides in the stroller. But, overall, we are all enjoying trying something new (to us) together.

What doesn't say summer like eating ice cream outside on a hot day?
We also do lots of meals (typically breakfasts) out on the deck:

We also went to the park so many times I lost count. But caught this beautiful kiss:
Even superheroes exercise:
So this month we also hit a big milestone for our house. 1 year ago, we became 100% debt-free after paying off our mortgage. It's been a wild year filled with personal reflection and growth. This had been a huge goal for our household and we stayed focused and did it! We didn't do it as early as I had hoped but totally a goal worth completing, celebrating, and celebrating yearly!
We did an extra special movie night at our house. We paid to see the new paw patrol movie! I made some extra special treats (drinks and food) including popcorn and we had a blast pretending we were at the movie theatres! This movie was super cute, too. 

My favorite part was that the kids got all their paw patrol stuff out before we started the movie. They made sure to act out most of the movie with their toys! It was the cutest. Life sure is sweet.

Prior to starting school, I organized my homeschool stuff for preschool. The kids found some of their recipes we had done in the past, and were determined to do some of them. Here we made fruit cars:

I also made homemade donuts to wrap up our summer break:

And, just like that, we started school! This year was hard for me. I really didn't want to send either kid to school and it was especially hard having 2 go instead of just 1. Jayden and I still feel like we're floating through our day unsure of what's missing. It's been an adjustment.

I can't stop time. So, I sent them to school. My kindergartener and my second grader:

We started school for Jayden as well and do that at home. We have been taking it slow and easy, but are really loving the crafts:
Payton started piano lessons this year and I took her for a special treat after her first lesson:


She is loving piano so far! I'm loving watching her try something new and learn and grow! The coffee shop dates are a real perk, too. 

I also got to sneak away with Riley after his first week of school to catch up and hear about all things kindergarten:

Our weekends are filled with some craft projects and visitors:

All the busy ness that comes with kindergarten and then guests sure wore Riley out:

One last swim in the pool before we took it down. 
Riley and Jayden created a golf course at our house earlier in the week and showed dad and grandpa how to play.

This picture below is very special to me. Payton checked out an art book from the library and found a game where you roll a dice to determine different pieces you will put into your picture. She politely asked all of us to play, including her grandparents. We agreed. There was so much laughter! We did several pictures and also presented our pictures to the group. It was so fun:

I never pass up a chance to take a good picture of my kids reading together:

We also went out to dinner and enjoyed the city pool (twice this month)! We hadn't been there in years. It was a good time!

Jayden finished up his occupational therapy. We didn't know it was the last session until we got there. Of course, we ended on a day he wore his Spiderman outfit to the session!

And we just had to hit up our favorite location to celebrate! The coffee shop! A kind individual walked by and offered to take our picture and I did not refuse!

As we prepared for school, the kids helped clean out my van!

And to wrap up this post, I wanted to share a picture that will probably mean not much to you but means so very much to me. A dead end road. My dead end road or lovingly dubbed "the side road" at our house. A road we have put hours and hours of time into.


As we celebrate a year of being debt-free I am deeply grateful for this road and have thought about it and the meaning it holds for me most of this month. My kids have learned to pedal bikes on this road. I have heard about the hard stuff at school on this road. Dreams have been cemented into goals on this road. So much of life is done on this short bit of pavement that lead to nowhere. Yet, it has taken us everywhere.

It is home.

Until next month!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Our July Recap

 July was so good to us and we were so thankful to have enjoyed seeing so much of our family and friends. We even celebrated our middle child for his 6th birthday (read here). Take a look at what we have been up to this month:

We kicked off the month with a surprise breakfast and trip to the park to eat it. Payton was certain she hadn't had McDonald's for at least 2 years. I don't know if it had been that long but it had been awhile. That's what makes these special trips to fun since they are so rare!
                Just another day of harvesting at our house. Eggs and Raspberries were in season!

Next up is all of our 4th of July fun. We aren't actually intentional about this but we seem to spend each year as just us. It still makes the holiday extra special and we love our family time. Fireworks, firepit, trying to catch parachutes, roasting marshmallows for smores, and staying up late on the rare occasion. That's where it's at.

We have also spent so much of our time in our above ground pool. This one is different from years past and will probably be our only season to use (bought used and came with holes we can't seem to repair, despite our best efforts), but we have loved the heck out of this pool and use it almost daily.

One morning the kids worked on upcycling our recycling. They made robots!
                                                                     Playing bubbles!
I got out for a bit with just Riley and was able to snap this picture. 
I try really hard to work in at least one day each month we travel to a nearby town to go to the children's museum. Something my children look so forward to and enjoy. We had a blast and I may have shed a tear as I took the above picture of them walking to the building. Who knows  how much longer I have that they will enjoy this location and/or hold hands?!?!

T-ball ended last month but we finally got Riley's pictures in and aren't they the sweetest? 
We had sweet corn in our garden this year for the first time ever! This is how tall it was part way through the month. We are so proud!
One random weekday we decided to really surprise the kids. Right after Monte got home from work we loaded them up and told them nothing. We took them straight to the bowling alley and they were in total shock to learn we were having a family bowling night. I can't recall who won (I think Riley) but I can tell you our smiles were all so big and we laughed the entire game we played. We also let the kids get nachos and loved sharing this food together!
We went one morning to meet up with a friend from high school that I haven't seen in about 18 months (thanks to life in general and the pandemic). It was the best time!
The kids continue with creativity and surprised me with decorations and apparel they made over their quiet time. 

One day, the big kids went with their dad to run errands. So, I used the time to create a picnic for Jayden and I to go on. We sat outside and ate and talked and watched the world go by. Then, we both laid down for a long nap! It was quite enjoyable for both of us. 

Working the garden and our property:

Rapberry picking
Our potatos!
The work it takes for us to get the potatoes.
"Hello, I'm new here." A picture of one of the bird's nests we watched. We took this picture within hours of this baby being born. The sibling followed the next morning. 
Our boat! We still have it! But, it still hasn't seen water... yet. We pulled her out and cleaned her though! This story is to be continued. At another time.
Riley wanted me to take this picture and remember the spear he made himself. Most of his make believe contains hunting and survivalist methods. He is so creative and fun to watch as he grows and learns and expands his world.

The above and below picture are from a trip we made to my hometown. Our stopping points and I got almost no pictures in my hometown! Above we took pictures at a break spot and below we stopped on our way back home at a park. A park who happened to have farmer's market going so we had to get something...
Tropical sno is always a fave for us!

The one picture I got back home. A beautiful picture of my grandmother with my daughter:

As soon as we returned, we got our county fair entries ready and took them in:

Then we jet set off to another state for a quick vacation combined with a doctor appointment for our youngest. We knew this would probably be our last trip and after going in May and June, we were prepared to enjoy our last trip in July and say peace out. 

At Jayden's last appointment, and we are now done with this Children's location. Can I get an Amen? We are so thankful for modern medicine but the travel takes a toll. It felt so good to finish this up and my child is doing so amazingly well. God is so good! 

As we left the appointment, we saw superheroes preparing to clean the windows (a special thing that the children's hospital does for patients) and we grabbed a quick photo:
We really wanted a picture with superman as well but he was busy on a phone call. We loved seeing him, too, though!
Riley hanging out in a parked vehicle waiting to go home. We finally made it home from our trip and jumped right back into our normal, chaotic life. 
                     We made deviled eggs as the kids wanted to cook! And then we headed to the fair:

We got free balloons shaped and our faces painted! We also spent an evening riding all the rides. The kids had a blast and talk constantly about going back next year. 
Another morning. Another harvesting picture.
We have spend most of the month working on Jayden's physical therapy assignments. One was to put cheerios onto a spaghetti stick. All 3 kids have loved all the activities we've done!
A random picture of me and my babies. We are together all the time but I don't get nearly enough pictures of me in them. This is a moment we slowed down for a second.
I entered a photo challenge at our library and won! My chicken reading a book. I got not just a ribbon but chamber bucks! I'm still deciding what to do with the money but am debating taking the kids to dinner, using it for xmas shopping this year, and/or taking our kids to play at an event center near us that we rarely make it to. I'll share later what I decide!
This boy starts kindergarten in August. I'm so sad. But, we took him back to school shopping and all he needed were a good pair of shoes. These are what he picked and he was so proud! It's so wild how grown up he looks to me in this picture. 

And then the last few pictures are totally random and just us being back at home doing our own thing:
Our dog, Maggie, laying with kids during quiet time. We rotate daily who she lays with and this was how I found her one afternoon in Payton's room. Both Payton and Riley take good care of her on their days. They cuddle her and brush her and tell her about the activities they are doing. 
Harvesting corn! We ended the month with the corn being ready. We picked, cooked, and processed it. Most went into the freezer to eat during the winter. No one was more proud than Riley. He so wants to be a farmer and was 100% in his element working on the corn . 
As I type this we are already in August and only have a few days until school begins. This was the fastest summer of my life. I still wish I could slow down time but I am also in awe at the life God has blessed us with.

I pray your July went as well as ours did. 

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