26 August 2016

Back to School Fancy Dinner

It's funny how once you carry out a tradition a few times, your children hold you to it.

We flew home from Michigan less than 36 hours before school started, but the boys completely expected our traditional back to school fancy dinner before embarking on the new school year. They asked me over and over what our new theme was going to be and how I was going to decorate the table.

Since they were insistent on carrying out the tradition, you better believe I did what it took to throw something together. Thankfully, I already had a theme in mind, so it was just a matter of scrounging up some items around the house to make the table look "fancy."

Even though they knew what to expect at our fourth annual back to school dinner, the boys still showed just as much shock that we would throw a party just for them. No company, no birthday celebrations, no major holidays, just us. And somehow those above average place settings encouraged them to stay in their chairs, use their manners and participate in some great discussions. It's seriously like magic how they whip right into little adults for this one annual meal.

We settled on the family theme "Build Up" this year. We talked about ways that we are built up and torn down, both by others and by ourselves. We had a good discussion about how important it is to build ourselves up when it is so easy to focus on our weaknesses. And we can all do a little better at cheering each other on. 

I used the blocks to show the analogy that if your foundation is full of positivity and support, you stand firm without wobbling. But as you remove blocks one by one, over time you grow weaker and weaker until you eventually collapse. 
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The great thing about this theme is that the adults in our family need the reminder just as much as the boys. Who doesn't need a little building up?


25 August 2016

Back to School

I didn't intentionally take a month long hiatus from posting, but life is racing by faster than I can keep up. I have so much to share about the 4th of July, summer happenings and an epic trip to Michigan, but for now, let's talk about how the boys started school smack dab in the middle of August.

Our minds and bodies were still in summer mode when August 15th rolled around. We were jet lagged and none of our suitcases were unpacked, but that first school bell rang at 8am whether we were ready or not.
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Crew was heartbroken to say goodbye to his summer playmates.
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But he only had to make it one week before he joined the school line up. To say he was excited for his first day of preschool would be a grand understatement. Crew has been begging to go to school since he could talk.
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Nash's favorite part about first grade is that he has his very own (hand-me-down) pencil box. 
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Blake's favorite part about third grade is that his 2nd grade teacher moved up a grade and he was lucky enough to land in her class again.
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Crew's favorite part about preschool is well, everything. Snacks, friends, coloring, and especially cutting with scissors. It hadn't dawned on me to pull out scissors yet with child number three but he wakes up each morning talking about them.
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Such a sweet boy, always finding me flowers to put in my hair.
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This fab five of friends and neighbors makes quite the crowd in preschool. 
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Maybe now that we're back in school I will be able to get caught up on life, but I'm realizing more and more that nonstop is our new normal. So here's to another year of schedules, homework, sports and hopefully some sleep once and awhile!


25 July 2016

At the Pier

On the last day of our staycation, which also happened to be the actual day of grandma's 60th birthday, we grabbed our bikes and headed to the San Clemente pier.
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Once we reached the end of the boardwalk trail, we stopped on the beach for lunch and swings. 
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Troy teased Blake about something or other.
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Love that male bonding.
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We took a little walk under the pier for a different view.
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We were fools to think we could send boys to the beach in regular clothes and no one would get wet.
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One wave was all it took to drench Nashy.
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The most anticipated part of walking to the pier was watching the train go by a few times an hour.
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The boys made their own cousin train while waiting for everyone to gather.
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We eventually meandered down the pier.
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The boys were very interested in all the fishing going on.
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One kind fisherman let Blake reel in his catch.
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He even convinced Blake to stick his thumb in the fish's mouth for a photo op (helmet hair and all).
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All of the grandkids showered the birthday girl with love.
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We stopped to watch the surfers on the way back.
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Finn adored his dad as usual.
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You can't go wrong with bikes, boardwalks and beaches for birthdays.
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