Tuesday, October 7, 2014

September 2014

I really try not to start each post with talking about how busy life is - but it is!  And the scary thing?...its only going to get busier.  When I mention life being busy, its simply explaining all of the many things that we are blessed to be a part of.

Soccer continued in full swing for Pete as a coach and Claire as a player.  Pete coached two other teams and then was also Claire's coach.  Claire had practice and "academy" every Monday night and had a really great time.  Recently, she asked if we could have her birthday party at Diamond soccer fields.  (sigh)  I am losing this battle of becoming a soccer mom :)

All three kids took swim lessons this month.  Grace and Jake swam on Mondays while Claire was at soccer and Claire swam on Wednesdays while the younger two kids played in the block room.

We registered Claire for Girl Scouts this month and are waiting to hear when her first troop meeting will be.  

We had visitors two different weekends this month.  

The second weekend in September, my mom came to visit and we had a very, very productive weekend.  It is so easy to take advantage of grandma who is dying to spend time with the kids.  With my mom's help babysitting (and put to work some), we were able to paint the shutters and the front door, go through all three kids closets and my own, build a desk for Grace (took off closet doors and made a built-in desk) and clean/organize the garage.  In addition to work, my mom and I went shopping to get some new clothes and had a really great time!

The last weekend in September, Keith and Debbie and my nieces Allison and Sarah came to visit.  We had an absolute blast with them.  The kids played in the bounce house, watched movies, played games, and had smores.  We only left the house for Claire's soccer game, but otherwise just relaxed.  Debbie and I took Sarah for a walk Saturday evening, and the four of us spent time catching up after the kids were in bed.  Grace is a little mom and really tried to help hold and take care of Sarah.  Claire and Allison clung together while Jake chased quickly behind.

Here are pictures from our month of September:

Claire's 2nd week of school, she got on PURPLE (highest possible) on the behavior chart.  
She wanted a Sponge Bob popsicle as a reward.

Artwork that Grace made at school...melted my heart :)

We had our first bee sting - Jake was stung in the backyard while I was grilling dinner.  Claire then got stung in early October.  We went 6 1/2 years without a bee sting and then two out of three kids got stung within 2 weeks of each other!

A few outside changes - took out bushes and painted shutters/door:

Grace's built-in desk

Evening treat!

One evening, for good behavior by all three kids, we took them to do some pottery.  They each decorated a plate and really enjoy using them for "fancy" dinners.

Here are pictures from our visit with Keith, Debbie, Allison & Sarah:

August 2014

August 2014 was filled with lots of new beginnings.

Claire started 1st grade and she absolutely loves it!  She is such a little social butterfly and loves to learn.  We met her teacher at open house and really adore her!

Grace started pre-K and got a new teacher and new classmates.  She has done really well and we still think she is a sponge.  She is quiet and simply soaks up all of the information in school.

Jake started preschool and had a new teacher and made some new friends.  He does really well, but is certainly testing his limitations.  Time out at school is called the "Lilly Pad."  Jake began the year with his fair share of sitting on "Lilly Pad,"  but we have slowly improved as the year has gone on.

Pete started a new soccer season as the President of a local youth soccer league.  In addition to coaching two teams, he has had many new tasks to endure.  

My new beginnings include going back to school to get my Master's Degree and being promoted to Assistant Manager of the NICU that I work at.  I am definitely a fish out of water when it comes to going back to school and APA format is a whole different language.  I am enjoying both of these new challenges and simply striving to do my best.

Here are some pictures from our month of August:

We taught Claire to ride a bike without training wheels.  She is still a little rusty, but we've made progress :)

Claire had a talent show at her summer day camp and decided to sing "Let it Go".  She was very shy but stood up there and sang through the entire song.

One Saturday, some of my mom friends and I took the kids to the local Main Street Festival.  The kids had a great time getting their faces painted, doing crafts, and exploring the different booths.

We ended the month by camping down at the tree farm with family and friends.  Every year on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends a group of really great people get together and camp.  The weekend consists of a hay ride to the local ice cream shop, playing in the creek, food and fire.

July 2014

 July had to be one of my favorite months of the year this year.  We started out the month by heading to my mom's for one of our family's most favorite week/weekend.  Every year, family from all over gathers at my mom's house and we swim in the lake, play cards, and just have a great time together.  This year was certainly no different.  We were able to arrive on Tuesday and not leave until the following Sunday.  We enjoyed playing in the lake, taking boat rides, fishing, and going down the new inflatable slide that my mom attached to her dock.

The next week, we were fortunate to be able to head to my mother in law's Dragon Boat Festival at a local lake.  The kids enjoyed playing in the lake and sand.  We all enjoyed cheering Grammy on when she raced the big dragon boat.  It was a really neat experience and we look forward to going again next year.

The following weekend, we celebrated my nephew, Bently's, 3rd birthday party.  Sarah and Mike did a great job putting games together and coming up with different activities for the kids.  Later that evening, all legal members of the Vandervaart family went out for a night cap.  It was so great to spend time with the family.

The final weekend in July entailed our 24th Annual Beach Mo trip.  We left early and went up to a resort called "Maui Sands," which has an indoor waterpark.  There were bunk beds for the kids with a second TV in their area.  It was such a neat hotel room and the kids loved it.  The next day, we headed to St. Joe's to visit with the Getty family.  It was so great to be reunited with our good friends and Claire was overjoyed to see her buddy, Jude!  The next day we spent a great day at Silver Beach with my brother and his family.  The rest of the weekend involved drinks, cards, indoor pool, beach and dune climbing.  We were blessed with good weather as well.

I couldn't have asked for a better month - 2 weekends with the in-laws and 2 weekends with my family.

This month, Claire took a stab at T-ball.  Towards the end of the season, they tried to pitch the ball to her.  Let's just say, there is room for improvement in the hand/eye coordination department.  What matters, though, is that she had fun.

Claire and Grace attended Vacation Bible School in July.  They had a great time and learned lots of fun songs.  After the week, they sang at 2 of the Sunday services.  They enjoyed singing those songs and I'm hoping to upload a video of their performance a little later. 

Jake's speech has improved, but we are continuing to work with him and hope that his talking gets better and better with each month.

The kids were great travellers this month and we had a great time just relaxing and enjoying the time we were able to spend together this month.

Here are some pictures from July: