Date Nights...

One of my favorite back to school traditions is our back-to-school date nights with the kids. Last year I told you 10 reasons why we make this happen and the only thing I would add is that we need to do this more often. Coordinating is the hardest part, but lucky for us we have an amazing village that watched the kiddos each night we went out! First up... 

Our Lovely Landry!
(Photo cred: Radley)

Her agenda included Freebirds, school supply shopping and spoons. Things to note: we had "twinkie" hair and I adore walking behind this scene.

Y'all - she was so dang excited about this burrito and she ate every single bite. I'm pretty sure that Ryan is never more proud of our kids than when they can put away a bunch of food. 

And then we headed to the motherland for all things Kindergarten. She looks so dang tiny but she was so excited to shop and pick out the perfect items to get her kinder ready!

Somethings were on the list and others notsomuch!

I have so many mixed emotions about this next step. I am overjoyed because I know that she is going to love school - she is going to grow and flourish and discover how brave and courageous she really is. I am also in denial that our BABY is a big kid. My heart isn't ready for that just yet! 

She was disappointed that every single nail place we went to was closed. She really needed a touch-up on her toes, but a few extra toppings on that froyo made her forget about polish real quick. Also, she is determined to get every last drop from that bowl - she gets that from me!


We ended her date with a quick trip to a park before grabbing the bigs at the Baileys. We sealed the date with a kiss and I made a mental note to remember how perfectly she still fits in my arms at this exact moment in time. 

Next up... Emmy... 

(Photocred: Landry)

Emmy's date started at Radley's camp drop-off. Landry rode home with the Munsons so Emmy not only got US to ourselves, she got the car/music selection/movie rights to herself, too! 

We made it back to College Station just in time for her activity of choice...

This girl's happy place is doing anything creative. Drawing, painting, coloring, building... she loves it! I love how much confidence she has in what she does and she sets an incredible example for ME! I freeze up anytime "art" is involved. (Note: this is different than being creative and thinking of fun ideas - this is the actual physical part of creating). 

She tackles every single project with self assurance. She isn't afraid to try something new or do something out of ordinary. In her mind, there is no perfect formula for how something should look or feel. She just begins and figures all the steps out along the way.

She's focused and determined and just in her element and I LOVE watching her. 

We were in and out in 20 minutes partially because they closed 50 minutes after we arrived but mostly because she knew what she wanted to do! I would have taken 20 minutes just to pick out what  I wanted to paint! 

Emmy and I plan on reading Anne of Green Gables together so she wanted to run by Barnes and Noble to see if they had any copies. Sadly, they didn't but she managed to pick a prize out anyway.

Emersyn is usually hyper aware of our feelings - she has this way of making sure we are all cared for which I think is related to being a middle child. She knew we had gone to Freebirds with Landry and didn't want to "make" us go twice in a row. She kept giving all these random suggestions of places that she knew we would like but weren't her favorites - we assured her that two days of Freebirds was just fine with us! Also,  how could we ever deny this toothless grin.

Her dessert stop of choice involved chocolate chip cookies and a view.

The sweetest ending of the sweetest date... 

with the sweetest second grader around!

Radley went from Fish Camp to Camp Carolina to date night - how he even had the energy to hang with us, I have no idea... but I'm so glad that he did!

(Photo cred: Emersyn)

He is our movie kid so he picked The Emoji Movie for our date. We didn't get much conversation time in, but hearing him laugh at silly things reminded me that he's still little and that I'm not losing my "baby boy" just yet. Also, he does a killer emoji impression. 

No surprise that he picked Pei Wei as his dinner of choice. We grabbed a seat outside and enjoyed all things nine-year-old boy. He eats way more than I do these days, is always up for silly faces and gets embarrassed when you mention basically any topic other than sports.

He also knows the key to my heart is a banana malt from DQ.  How'd I get so lucky to have these amazing men in my life? These amazing kids? 

Find the time to spend with those wee ones in your life - you won't regret any bit of effort it takes!


Kindergarten Countdown (10, 9, 8)...

Landry's official countdown to kindergarten started last Friday and we started with my favorite item... 

Learning is Fun

Just like with Radley and Emersyn, we started the countdown with an amazing "lesson plan". Words of wisdom and encouragement from our nearest and dearest. Twenty people took time out of their lives to send Landry a little love and I can cry just thinking about it. 

Each note has a special meeting and I'll post the full lesson plan later. I thought these words from KK are so important considering my thoughts on raising the change. 

Love Jesus. Love others.

It's as simple and true as that. 

Just Keep Swimming

School may only be nine days away but summer isn't over yet! We grabbed our besties and headed to the pool to get every last drop of summer we can!

Gear up for school

She was pretty darn excited about this day because she got to open THREE packages!

She picked her backpack and lunchbox out ages ago but I hadn't given them to her yet. I love how excited she was to open something she had been waiting for!

She couldn't wait to try that backpack on...I'd be excited if it stayed this color for the next five years!

And because I needed to see the comparison...

She also got an extra surprise for all those sleep overs that you attend when you go to school!

She was so excited about all her new goodies that she insisted on Rad and Emmy getting their gear out for a picture, too. And they love her enough to oblige...

8 days to go.... 


Foreverland Fun...

Radley had one day of rest before heading BACK to camp! This crew was heading to Carolina Creek for an entire week and they could not have been more ready to leave us behind!

Can you think of a better way to describe 100s of kinder-5th graders? 
Nope, me either.

This was the last session of the summer at CC but the counselors were just as excited and ready to teach these campers about Jesus as when we dropped Emersyn off in June!

I am LOVING this age of this crew. They are so fun and bright and free spirited. I pray so fiercely that they know how much they are loved and cherished by us. I had to grab one last hug from these two before we headed to the boys side of camp. 

Every time I see these cabins, I am incredibly impressed. I mean who wouldn't want to sleep in a building shaped like a giraffe?

Radley was thrilled that he was a Tiger - I think he's enjoying this growing up gig.

We were one of the first ones to drop off a camper so we got some extra time to snap pics. 

He was clearly over it. 

We said our always too quick goodbyes and I immediately missed him as soon as we started the van. I am SURE that the feeling was 100% NOT mutual. Ha! The girls asked 103 times if the camp had posted any pictures because they missed him as much as me and Ryan did! I'm always so excited to see his face and when this was the first picture we saw, my heart nearly exploded. 

As we were dropping them off, Caroline saw her counselor from last year. She introduced Radley as her best-friend all the way from Pre-K. Cue the tears. Family is amazing to have, but when you get to choose your FRamily, well, what a gift. I always prayed that my kids would have a "Jenni"... an irreplaceable partner in life. Someone that knows and loves every piece of them. For them, that's the Munsons.

As luck would have it, rain was in the forecast for the entire week of camp. But who's going to let a "little" rain stand in the way of major fun?!?! Please note: WE SENT WATER SHOES. Nice ones. Keens - the kind you can wear as shoes. I actually let him use mine because his feet have grown so fast. So why then, dearest Radley, were you out in your tennis shoes?

At least he was in good company!

It's a shame that they don't have any fun without us.

The week probably flew by for him but we were counting the days to get our big kid back.

It was finally pick up day ... I think they missed him!


We missed him, too!

Families arrive bright and early and each camper gets a cabin award. This is always my favorite part because I am always curious to hear what the kiddos strengths are from the perspective of others (and I also like to hear the creative explanations for some behaviors that others portray!)

Radley was recognized for his wisdom.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." Matthew 7:24

His counselors recognized his participation during devotional time and how he always gave thoughtful answers based on what he had read and learned from the bible. I am in awe of this kid - I need to be more like him. He reads the bible on his own every single day and I need to adopt that same practice.

Please note the backward ball cap (which I love)... wonder where he learned that? AND, we scored big time in that one of his counselors is an Aggie! Whoop to having Jacob nearby all year long!

Their friendship is a special one and I need to make it a priority for us to see this amazing family more than just during the summer. Pattons - monthly hangouts are in our future.

Emmy missed someone else, too!

What an honor to watch them not just grow up together, but to grow closer to God, together. I pray that their wisdom, adventurous spirits, selfless acts, boldness, kindess, and friendliness follows them along their paths every step of the way. That they learn from each other and build each other up in Him for years to come. 

Watch out, Carolina Creek - next year you get this entire crew for a WEEK! And they can't wait!