I started the month getting this email from Cole while he was at school. Here is the original post I had put on Facebook: "Last night I was asked if Cole likes being a big brother. I laughed and said, "I'm pretty sure he does, but you would never know it just from watching him with them!"
This guy picks on his sisters to no end. He probably needs to to survive in a house where he's sorely outnumbered by girls. But, he always checks on them when they're having a rough time, and that's when you see his heart for them. I hope they realize how special it is to have him looking out for them. #olderbrother #momofboys #lovethiskid"
I really do love his heart for those girls.
My school year had ended, and I was able to be around for some fun days at school. This was Crazy Kid Day and these kids sure were crazy!
Loved getting to hang with these sweet girls on their turf.
These guys finished an amazing season of soccer with a double header. So proud of them ALL!
The second game happened during a torrential downpour. I volunteered to stay in our car with these cuties to pass out snacks and watch a movie. I love the progression of our friend's son and Laina in the back - I had no idea he had done that until a few minutes after when I was looking through the photos! Too funny!
The car movie date turned into a real playdate day. Cole went to a friend's house and these little ladies came to our place. Here's our friend's daughter watching Barbie with the "babysitters." They were in Heaven.
The rain cleared up and the girls all decided it was time to wash the car for me! I went outside to find them all like this. Seriously too cute!
This was Laina and Jillian when they found out their playDAY was going to turn into a playNIGHT. We went over to Jillian's house for some more good time with our friends.
We had the most amazing moscow mules made by my friend, Caitlyn. YUM.
My friend Colleen has chickens and the girls treat them like puppies. Those poor birds didn't know what to do with themselves, but when this crew wants to snuggle you, it's hard to argue!
One day, right in the midst of a difficult season and a difficult day, God gave us this reminder that He is here and His promises never fail. I so badly needed it, I ran out after the thunderstorm we had and just started crying and ordering the kids to go outside and see the double rainbow.
His love shines brightest in the midst of the storm.
Jake and I were gone for the last week of school at an assessment for our new church. My friend snapped these photos of these four besties on their last day and I couldn't love them more. Their friendship is so special.
We went out for our last dinner with the Grabendikes. I still can't put into words what it was like to say goodbye...but just look at this terrible picture of me where my eyes are as puffy as can be, and you get the idea. ;)
I had to return a lens I had rented from a photoshoot I had and decided I should definitely reward the girls for the hour drive there and the hour drive back. We stopped at Bakers Square because I was remembering it as being a full-fledged bakery. As in, ONLY little treats. Well, I was remembering wrong, and suddenly we were seated and ordering large meals that none of us had the stomachs for. Oh well - it was a sweet, impromptu date with these favorite ladies of mine!
In their packing, the Grabendikes gave us the most fun kind of box - a COSTUME box! And this box was HUGE! The girls and their neighbor friend had so much fun going through all of the outfits. Laina especially got into character as she meditated!
We had another book club with Laina and her friends. Caitlyn hosted an amazing night where the girls got to make their summer bucket lists and then cross off the first thing on those lists, with their very first sleepover! The moms stayed way too late, having the best time and laughing hysterically. There is nothing like good friends to take a "blah" day and make it amazing. Love these ladies - both big and small - so much!
Jake is helping a friend with her website and we had the best time with her two kiddos. Cole and her son played the Wii and they were just the cutest.
I have no idea what this photo is from, or if there was any purpose to begin with, but man, do I love this girl!
We had lifegroup at our friends' home. It was so nice to just hang and catch up as summer can be so busy and it's difficult to get us all together. Cole enjoyed watching our friend Nate shooting bow.
I am so thankful for our friends who engage our kids and take the time to do things with them. These little deposits they're making into their lives will add up to so much someday. I watched these two in their own little world and was so thankful.
Jess and I attempted taking the kids for their first ding-dong-ditch! The first attempt did not go over so well, due to a naughty little puppy of our friend's. BUT - we made up for it and took the kids to Jess' neighbors just so they could get the experience. We left a bottle of wine and then ran as fast as we could back to the house, laughing the whole way. It was SO.MUCH.FUN and we'll definitely be ding-dong-ditch gifting again!
We went to a friend's house for a goodbye party for Scott and Kara. One of the activities was the French Fry Challenge. It was just too fun watching these guys try to figure out where these fries came from!
Summer means cherries.
We celebrated Jake for his birthday and for Father's Day by going to the drive-in, our annual summer trip. This time around we saw Finding Dory. I was completely skeptical, as Finding Nemo wasn't one of my favorites, but this sequel was definitely enjoyable.
This little girl comes out of Summer Academy every day with some sort of crazy get-up on. She has no care in the world and just skips to see her mama. I hope she always stays this confident in who she is and I hope she's always this excited to come and give me a hug.
We went to Chicago (back here), and the girls met this little lady in the train station. She walked right up to the girls and said, "You have American Girl Dolls too?? I'll be right back!" She ran away quickly and then returned with her dolls and right there, smack dab in the middle of Union Station, our girls were having a tea party with their dolls and a total stranger. It was beautiful. I have so many thoughts from this one moment, but it was mostly this:
Their willingness to lay down their insecurities and make a new friend is something I look up to. As we grow older, we learn a lot, but we also miss a lot because we allow so many things to hold us back. Let's look around. Let's start noticing. Let's be a friend.
We had a Manne/Marshall marathon day and this little lady did not disappoint in the cute department!
Cole had basketball camp after summer academy for a few weeks, so there were some afternoons with just the girls and me. Hayden climbed up to the front seat and we had some good girl time while we were waiting for Cole to be done.
We also got the time wrong on when Cole was actually done, so we headed across the lot to the elementary school and got some good park time in. These girls are so strong, and I love watching them do their tricks on the monkey bars.
MEIJER is in WISCONSIN!! Woohoo!! This is a BIG deal for this Michigan girl! Yes, it's all the way in Sussex, but it's worth it! We stopped there after summer school one day and had a great lunch date at the pretzel shop. Because warm pretzels and cheese is definitely a summer meal.
I told Maurah she could grab a box of Rice Krispies. I couldn't figure out where she was and I turned around and saw this. Apparently, there was a special gift in each box. She pulled out all of the boxes and started shaking them, seeing if she could hear the gift inside or if some boxes were larger than others! Nothing gets past this girl!
The girls and I went to school early for Cole's pick-up ON PURPOSE this time to get some park time in. It was another beautiful June day! There were some conversations that I recorded on my phone because I just giggled at the comments. As we pulled up and the girls ran out of the car to get to the park, Laina said, "When I was in my littler sixes, I couldn't reach that slider thing. But now I'm in my bigger sixes, so I bet I can grab it!" And - she sure could! It's amazing what your "bigger sixes" can do for you.
Maurah was showing me a trick on the monkey bars, climbing on top of them and Hayden said, "Oh, I can do that trick too! Mom, we climb on top of the monkey bars all the time. Except we only do it when the recess teachers aren't looking because we'll get in trouble." It cracked me up thinking of these girls and all of their second grade friends being such rebels and doing these tricks at recess!
Laina was thinking hard and said, "Mommy, if I die holding my blankie, do you think God will let her into Heaven with me?" And I said yes. :)
Yes - June was a pretty spectacular month.