Thursday, August 11, 2016

July Bits

When it's 8 a.m. and the store is almost completely empty, the boys loved that I said yes and paused for a few seconds to allow a little sword fighting. 
 I caught Noah trying out a new hairstyle.
 Luke had a 'sleepover' in his garage, without even leaving his own room.
 The boys LOVE playing games.  Noah created his own one day so we all sat down and played.

We've got another bike rider in the family!  This three and a half year old is so happy to be on a bike with peddles.  On a whim we lowered the seat on Noah's bike and just a few minutes later Luke was happily riding.  He earned an already needed new helmet that day, which he picked out himself.

The boys definitely earned their free food at Chick-Fil-A.  They were the cutest, happy cows.

 It was fun to see other friends trickle into the restaurant that night as well.
 Can you guess what flavor of frozen yogurt Luke ordered at Menchie's?  It was blue raspberry for the win!

I finally fulfilled the request that we visit the Aquatic Center before the summer ended. 
Leah looks almost as big as Noah in that picture!

 Sometimes when I can't find Luke, I find him here: 
This boy loves being the rascal of the family, but it's especially cute when I find them in there with his sister after she's woken up from a nap.  He really is the best babysitter when I need just a few extra minutes to finish up something.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bodega Bay Camping

As we looked at the calendar and saw that the start of school was rapidly approaching Nate announced, "I've got to take the boys camping!"  So he hustled to find an available campsite, found some friends to join in the fun, and just a few days later was heading for the coast.

I wish I had a picture of the Nartker's van.  It was filled to the brim with six excited children and all of the necessities required for an overnight adventure at Bodega Bay.  No one seemed to mind that sleeping bags and everything else were being shoved in every available space to get it all in. 

Melody and I opted to keep the little ones home with us.  But we had a much needed dinner together and her twins loved on Leah while she and I chatted the night away. 

First stop on their roadtrip was In N Out for lunch.

 The afternoon and morning of the next day were spent enjoying the beach: playing in the waves, building sandcastles, and collecting shells.

 It was chilly, just like Bodega Bay seems to ALWAYS been in August, but that didn't slow them down much.

The evening brought on dinner and, of course, s'more making.
 And the darkness didn't slow things down a bit.  The kids loved playing Uno by the light of the lantern.

 These boys are always happy for an adventure, especially one that involves time with Dad. I'm so glad it's a priority to that Dad of theirs and that they could share it with dear friends.  These simple memories are some of the ones both Nate and I remember the most from our childhood.  I can't wait for next year (maybe!) when Leah and I join in the fun too!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The First Day of Kindergarten

For years, probably since Noah could articulate a sentence, he has impatiently asked, "When am I old enough to go to that school?!"  That day has seemed far off  for so long that it's hard to believe that day was TODAY.

But here we are, on the first day of kindergarten for our big boy.  The day started off with Noah's breakfast request: poached eggs, toast and strawberries.   He excitedly declared, "It's a beautiful day to start kindergarten!"

I think the best part before leaving for Noah was finally getting to wear his first pair of Nikes.  He's sure those new shoes are going to make him extra fast on the playground.

We snapped the traditional before school picture.
 Oh, someone please start giving this kid a double dose of stay little pills!  The past five and a half years have seemed to go at an appropriate pace, but I have a feeling that school is going to make things start to move at a faster speed than I'm ready for.

We noticed that our sweet neighbor Tia was doing the same thing so she came over and joined Noah. 
 Then things got extra cute when Luke joined us outside.   These boys, they're just bursting with personality!
Nate went into work late, and we all drove over to Gallardo together.  Noah met his teacher, Mrs. Chan, and visited his classroom the day before at story time so he was all confidence when it came to being on campus. 
 A few minutes after we got there Everett arrived too.  These two boys have completed two years of Joy School together and are now venturing into kindergarten.  They're in different classes, but on the playground at the same time.
 The school bell rang too soon for my liking, and just like that Mrs. Chan was opening the door and welcoming her sweet class.  I was so happy that she welcomed in the parents for a few minutes too!
 She read the Kissing Hand to the kids which was a perfect way to enter kindergarten for them and their parents. 
 At the beginning of the summer when we got Noah's class assignment he was placed in a K/1 combination class. But we just found out a few days ago that it changed to a straight kindergarten.  Oh, was this mama/teacher happy about that.  I think the dust is still settling a bit in that kindergarten class, but when we left this morning there were ten kids in the class and only two boys.


So tiny, but I love it, even if it is like that for only a few days.  And thankfully that other boy is Bentley, a sweet boy in our ward who was also Noah's t-ball buddy last spring.  I have a feeling that things will change, but hurray for a smallish class size!

Finally 12:06 rolled around and it was time to pick up our big boy.  He was all smiles and is ready to go back tomorrow.
We welcomed him home with his favorite sprinkle cookies and I soaked in everything he could tell me about this special first day.
 He loved recess the most, learned the school song, and did some coloring.  He reported that Mrs. Chan is a good teacher because she has good lessons.  Works for me!  I'm excited for all of us as we experience kindergarten as a family this year!

Our First Back to School Feast

We started a new tradition by having a Back to School Feast on Sunday. 
 I wanted to keep it simple, but special, and by the end of it all I just loved the way it all went.

I blocked off the kitchen and dining area so that the boys could only watch the preparations from a distance.  They were curious kids as they saw the table being set, food prepared and that cake decorating the table.
When everything was ready Noah and Luke rushed to their seats and excitedly put on their golden crowns. 
During dinner we talked about the upcoming school year: their fears, what seemed most exciting and what they hoped to learn.  Having such a detailed, articulate conversation with these boys reminded me that their littleness is quickly disappearing.  Even though Luke is two years younger, his seems to be going even faster as he tries to keep up with whatever Noah is doing.  But I loved just focusing on them during that time.
After a cleaning up and a game of Uno, Nate and I introduced our family's theme for the school year.  Taken from Philippians 4:13, we felt like this scripture was simple but proclaimed a clear testimony to our boys where their greatest help can come from.  We'll continue to revisit it during family home evening as a tool to strengthen our family.
Right before bedtime Nate gave each of the boys a Father's blessing.  The feeling in the room was tender and sweet.  It really was a moment to be reminded of how special these sweethearts are and what their potential is.  Not a half second after Noah's blessing finished he bounced off of the chair and proclaimed, "I feel good!  I feel so good!"  We all did.  It was a blessed, sweet evening all the way around.  This is a tradition that will be sticking around for years to come for sure!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Separate Kinds of Fun

Most of the adults and bigger kids headed out one morning to the ropes course at Granlibakken.  With a minimum age requirement of five, Noah bounced out the door with Nate while Luke (and Leah) stayed with me. 

Nate had just done the ropes course in June for a work retreat so he stuck with Noah on the kids course and was able to capture so many fun, brave moments.
 Noah LOVED it.  
 Some of the staff there couldn't believe that our five year old was cruising so fast, so steadily and so confidently on some of the sections of the course.  

Having Olivia, Sammie, and Abby right there too made everything even more fun.

 After a couple of hours on the course and a stop for lunch, our very non napper, who will never admit he's tired needed a little snooze on the drive back to the cabin.
  I wanted Luke to have his own special kind of fun so we planned to go ride the gondola up the mountain to Heavenly.  But upon arriving at Heavenly Village we found out that it was closed that day (of course!) due to a fire the day before.  I wondered how Luke would take it, but he was fine.  So riding the tram turned into a stop at the toy store at Heavenly Village.  I had no idea a Pez dispenser could make this kid feel so complete and satisfied. 
 We had fun walking around together, peeking in the stores that he wanted to, and just being together.
 It was a far cry from the great adventure his big brother was having, but I love that Luke didn't care.  He was more excited about a 'mom date,' a Pez dispenser and a smoothie than I could have imagined.