I am more than a week behind on this important post. Mostly because I am just behind on most things, but partly because I didn't know what to say. It is a day that mothers think about almost from the moment their child is born. The first day of Kindergarten: that symbol of letting go.
Here is the first Kindergartener in our house. Isn't she something?
She was so excited and brave. And I must say, so was I. Her teacher is amazing and Lily was so ready for her first day. My tears never even made it over the rims of my eyes. What a glorious ride this parenting thing is.
Our westward vacation this summer was more than I could have hoped for. I admit, I was skeptical about a car trip with two young children who can't seem to go 30 minutes without a snack. I didn't believe 50 plus hours in the car would go off without a hitch. But do you know what? It did.
to Mount Rushmore,
and the awe-inspiring Lower Falls.
Big tourist sites
and quiet beaches.
and old lands.
And all the way back home.
You know you are blessed when, as parents, you are inventing reasons to extend your 8 day road trip to just keep the fun going.
Money has nothing on memories.
Watching Lily at soccer tonight was eye-opening. For the last ten minutes, twenty kids, ages 4 and 5, played a "game" of soccer. Some kids picked grass, some half-heartedly jogged back and forth with the mob, and some swarmed the ball. Lily was in the swarm. In fact, I think she considered herself the queen bee. Not only did she steal the ball from the blue team, she knocked it away from her own yellow teammates. Now don't get me wrong, I don't consider this behavior desirable, but at the same time, my parental pride welled up at the sight of her running her little tushy off!
After practice I talked with her a little about the game. When we got to the part about her taking the ball from her own teammates, she expressed frustration that some kids weren't playing "right." I commented that she was probably feeling competetive, like she wanted to score so much that she might do things that aren't good.
"Yeah, sometimes I wanted to push kids down so I could just go and score. But I knew when the game was over I wouldn't feel good about that."
I could not help but chuckle. That pretty much sums up the tug-of-war between ambition and civility.
Farmer Bob and Farmhand Sam going to see the "tacto" and the "meow-meow."
"Can we have another cookie? Please?"
Me and my sweet mom on Mother's Day. Lily concluded that you must get shorter as you get older because, "your mom is shorter than you and Grandma Olson is even shorter than Grandma Crabtree!"
Sam congratulating Lily on her last day of gymnastics. She said she was ready to take a break from gymnastics because she is, "really more into soccer and swimming right now."
Lily and her teachers at Preschool graduation.
Another pic with G & G
"Mom, how many pictures do we have to take?"
Everytime we pass the mower in the garage, Sam says, "Mow? Not now."
Lily told me when I was lounging on this inflatable I looked "snotty". Strangely, I knew just what she meant.
Because of my cautiousness while puddle jumping in the street, Sam now runs to the boulevard grass, freezes, and calls, "cow!" when a car drives down our street, even when we are playing safely near the house!
"Amy" -- what Sammy calls himself.
"I wish your hair was all yellow again, Mom." Lily has told me this several times since I colored my hair.
"We don't actually allow outside food in the zoo." Two zoo workers told me this has always been their policy. News to me and every mom there. So here we are, eating apples from home. Rule-breakers!
Lily before her first soccer practice: "I thought I was excited, but now I think I am nervous. I really don't like how these shin guards look."
Lily 10 minutes in: "I am not having any fun. I really can't do this!"
10 minutes later: "Well that game was pretty fun."
After her first practice: "Well that was more fun than I thought it would be. I'm hungry."
It was a Wednesday afternoon in early May. The van was packed with more gear than a family of four could ever need. They strapped in the kids and made the one hour trek to Pelican Rapids. As they weaved into the State Park, the girl unbuckled her seat belt, too excited to be restrained. They approached the three cabins and realized there was no one else there. The mom and dad smiled.
No time was wasted before they ran down to the lake. The children later learned the word "hill" since this was foreign to them in their homeland of Moorhead.
The boy could have spent all day on the dock, throwing in rock after rock after rock.
The girl wanted to get in the water, but only on her own time.
There was hiking, or "I-king" as the boy called it.
There were discoveries (It turns out no one in the family is fond of tent caterpillars)
There were more hikes and snacks too.
There was even a little time for the mom and dad to sit and relax.
This family really loved having Maplewood to themselves.