Wednesday, June 15, 2016

All the feelings...

The parenting moments to treasure are flying at me faster than I can process lately. 

So many big feels, it's overwhelming how much gratitude I have. 
In the last month, I have beamed with pride, and found myself reaching for Kleenex more times than I can count. 

We are experiencing a combination of firsts, and also many lasts... and alot of good little moments in between. 

Ellery graduated from kindergarten, just days before Austin read his faith reflection at his 8th grade graduation.... just a few weeks after Sydney made profession of faith.

Those are just a few of the big things, but there have been so many great little moments in between. Gah! I am so proud of all my kids.

I am sure these are the days that we will look back upon fondly...let out a little sigh and say, "they sure were busy...but those were the days."

Tim and I turned 40 last month, and he surprised me with a wonderful party,  with all of my favorite people.  As I reflected afterwards on how blessed I am in both my marriage and friendships, I'm surprised my heart didn't burst.
It seems all of these moments, milestones...big and small, as of lately, are etched in my brain...and are memories I know I will revisit over and over, forever.
While I'm cherishing every minute of it, time unfortunately doesn't slow down. 
I think that's what makes the moments all the more precious.  For such a time as this.

This school year has been quite a ride.

This is the year that all our kids were in the same school.

It was tidy, it was nice, it was was busy.

I can still distinctly remember having a conversation with Austin when he was 8 years old, after Ellery was born.  He told me that when Ellery started school he would be an 8th grader. It seemed like crazy talk back then.

Be still. I blinked, and we are here.

I was a ball of emotion, and had to fight back tears during Ellery's kindergarten program in sheer appreciation. It's sweeter every time. I am certain, it will be the same when I sit through my last 8th grade graduation. 

There have been a lot of "proud mama" moments lately....
Sitting in the 8th grade awards ceremony, watching countless band and choir concerts, sports games, listening to Sydney sing during chapel, getting pulled aside to let me know I should be proud of Dylan for the way he looks out for his classmates, watching the little girls play on the playground during the ribbon cutting ceremony, Sydney working her tail off all year to get A's... just to name a few.

If there is one label to slap on our kids, it would be "well-rounded".  We always encourage them to try new things, to push themselves, seize opportunities, give their best...and boy howdy, they did.

Having active kids in both 7th and 8th grade... boy and girl...meant my van started picking up after sports practice last August, and aside from school breaks, never swayed from that course til last week. Throw in all the other kids, activities, everything else, bc they are all unique little individuals, and we were never bored.

Ok, enough of my rambling, random thoughts... join me on a pictoral journey of some key moments in our spring...

Ellery at her preschool graduation. 
She sang her heart out, and presented the best Olive Octopus she could.

8th grade graduation. So proud of this kid for his effort academically, for the way he looks out for his friends, and for all of the new things he tried, even when they took him well out of his comfort zone. 

Sydney made profession of faith. It was a beautiful night!

...and then she had the wonderful opportunity to sing with Souled Out at Festival! 

Stella at the one room school house!

Austin won a medal in Science Olympiad,  for food science, and also took first place with our school in the Math triathlon.

The kids were both pirates in the school play, Peter Pan. They did fantastic!

Sydney played soccer for school.

Ellery played soccer.  I forgot how fun little soccer is to watch, especially when it's your 5th child who has been dragged to many games along the way, and has learned a few tricks of her own from all the watching ;)

Tim and I both turned 40.

We got a little dog named Charlie after Spring Break. He fits in pretty well...

Dylan, the cutest li'l knight in the 5th/6th grade program.

Austin enjoyed running track. His favorite races were the relays with his buddies.

Enjoying the outdoors.

And now, summer break....

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Spring Break 2016

Based upon my very sporadic blogging, it seems all we do around here is travel to Florida. 
So much life to catch up on!

On the drive home from Texas last spring, we decided that we were once again ready to face the mouse. The little girls would be the perfect age, and the older kids would still love it.  And let's be honest...we love non-stop fun.

Join me on our 2016 spring break journey...

We hit the road Friday afternoon around 5 o'clock. The ride was smooth as butter. Tim and I reconnected after a busy week, and traded off driving every few hours all night long until we made it to our Macon, Georgia Denny's for breakfast.

We pressed on until we got to "our welcome center" aka the free orange juice and pamphlets store, took our obligatory photo, and checked to see if the alligator was still in the pond.

After circling around a bit...bc it seems that my phone gps isn't entirely foolproof, we made it to our condo. 

Westgate Lakes did not disappoint. 
Amidst the running around squealing, checking out all the rooms, claiming beds and bathrooms, the kids stumbled upon a bidet in our master bath. And before I even realized what was happening, they convinced Ellery to wash her hands in it.

Naturally, that story became the punchline to every joke that week.

After dinner, and a walk around to check it all out, we went to we were exhausted from the drive.

Sunday morning, bright and early, we were at our days destination...Hollywood Studios.

My favorite part of the day was watching the little girls laugh and squeal with delight during the Elsa and Anna sing-along. Riding Tower of Terror as a family was a close second.

Rock n Roller Coaster.

On Monday we went to Jetty Park, at Cape Canaveral. We swam in the ocean,  played on the beach, fished, and watched the boats go out.

Tuesday we were up bright and early, off to the Magic Kingdom with the rest of America. 

Dylan took the bet to wear the braid hat.

Dancing with the Incredibles.

Ellery only had eyes for Minnie Ears from the go for her souvenier, and did not waiver....or have any regret thankfully.

Stella got her wish to meet TinkerBell!

We timed Micky just right! A Disney miracle! We popped in to see him just before the parade got finished so there was no line.

It was crazy busy, so we left for a few hours in the afternoon to grab dinner.

Doing what they do. Always looking for fish and ducks, naturally.  

Tho it was busy, we still had a blast. Buzz Lightyear still a remains the family favorite. All the girls loved "Its a small World", and we rode it a few more times than the boys could handle.

Our days at the Magic Kingdom were geared more towards the little girls, enjoying it all through their eyes and chasing down we did with the big kids a few years back.

On Wednesday we stayed at our resort, and enjoyed sleeping in, the pool, mini golf, fishing in the lake, and a little shopping.

Thursday we visited Epcot Center. Riding test track as a family, and tracking down the princesses for autographs were definite highlights.

On Friday, we played volleyball and went to the pool in the morning. In the afternoon we went back to the Magic Kingdom, rode all of our favorites again, and stayed til close.

Saturday, we did more of the same in the morning, and then hit the road for home. 
We left in flip flops, and spent the last 2 hours of the drive white knuckling it through a snow storm. 

All in all, it was a great trip for our family. It was refreshing to be together, just us. We played, laughed, talked, joked, and forgot about our regular life for awhile. The weather was beautiful. It was good. 

And I think we have our fill of the mouse for awhile?