8.20.2017

Kindergarten Countdown (10, 9, 8)...

Landry's official countdown to kindergarten started last Friday and we started with my favorite item... 

Learning is Fun

Just like with Radley and Emersyn, we started the countdown with an amazing "lesson plan". Words of wisdom and encouragement from our nearest and dearest. Twenty people took time out of their lives to send Landry a little love and I can cry just thinking about it. 



Each note has a special meeting and I'll post the full lesson plan later. I thought these words from KK are so important considering my thoughts on raising the change. 

Love Jesus. Love others.

It's as simple and true as that. 



Just Keep Swimming

School may only be nine days away but summer isn't over yet! We grabbed our besties and headed to the pool to get every last drop of summer we can!


Gear up for school

She was pretty darn excited about this day because she got to open THREE packages!


She picked her backpack and lunchbox out ages ago but I hadn't given them to her yet. I love how excited she was to open something she had been waiting for!


She couldn't wait to try that backpack on...I'd be excited if it stayed this color for the next five years!


And because I needed to see the comparison...



She also got an extra surprise for all those sleep overs that you attend when you go to school!


She was so excited about all her new goodies that she insisted on Rad and Emmy getting their gear out for a picture, too. And they love her enough to oblige...


8 days to go.... 

8.19.2017

Foreverland Fun...

Radley had one day of rest before heading BACK to camp! This crew was heading to Carolina Creek for an entire week and they could not have been more ready to leave us behind!


Can you think of a better way to describe 100s of kinder-5th graders? 
Nope, me either.


This was the last session of the summer at CC but the counselors were just as excited and ready to teach these campers about Jesus as when we dropped Emersyn off in June!


I am LOVING this age of this crew. They are so fun and bright and free spirited. I pray so fiercely that they know how much they are loved and cherished by us. I had to grab one last hug from these two before we headed to the boys side of camp. 


Every time I see these cabins, I am incredibly impressed. I mean who wouldn't want to sleep in a building shaped like a giraffe?


Radley was thrilled that he was a Tiger - I think he's enjoying this growing up gig.


We were one of the first ones to drop off a camper so we got some extra time to snap pics. 



He was clearly over it. 
;)


We said our always too quick goodbyes and I immediately missed him as soon as we started the van. I am SURE that the feeling was 100% NOT mutual. Ha! The girls asked 103 times if the camp had posted any pictures because they missed him as much as me and Ryan did! I'm always so excited to see his face and when this was the first picture we saw, my heart nearly exploded. 

As we were dropping them off, Caroline saw her counselor from last year. She introduced Radley as her best-friend all the way from Pre-K. Cue the tears. Family is amazing to have, but when you get to choose your FRamily, well, what a gift. I always prayed that my kids would have a "Jenni"... an irreplaceable partner in life. Someone that knows and loves every piece of them. For them, that's the Munsons.



As luck would have it, rain was in the forecast for the entire week of camp. But who's going to let a "little" rain stand in the way of major fun?!?! Please note: WE SENT WATER SHOES. Nice ones. Keens - the kind you can wear as shoes. I actually let him use mine because his feet have grown so fast. So why then, dearest Radley, were you out in your tennis shoes?

At least he was in good company!


It's a shame that they don't have any fun without us.


The week probably flew by for him but we were counting the days to get our big kid back.


It was finally pick up day ... I think they missed him!

;)


We missed him, too!


Families arrive bright and early and each camper gets a cabin award. This is always my favorite part because I am always curious to hear what the kiddos strengths are from the perspective of others (and I also like to hear the creative explanations for some behaviors that others portray!)


Radley was recognized for his wisdom.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." Matthew 7:24

His counselors recognized his participation during devotional time and how he always gave thoughtful answers based on what he had read and learned from the bible. I am in awe of this kid - I need to be more like him. He reads the bible on his own every single day and I need to adopt that same practice.


Please note the backward ball cap (which I love)... wonder where he learned that? AND, we scored big time in that one of his counselors is an Aggie! Whoop to having Jacob nearby all year long!


Their friendship is a special one and I need to make it a priority for us to see this amazing family more than just during the summer. Pattons - monthly hangouts are in our future.


Emmy missed someone else, too!


What an honor to watch them not just grow up together, but to grow closer to God, together. I pray that their wisdom, adventurous spirits, selfless acts, boldness, kindess, and friendliness follows them along their paths every step of the way. That they learn from each other and build each other up in Him for years to come. 


Watch out, Carolina Creek - next year you get this entire crew for a WEEK! And they can't wait!



8.18.2017

Kindergarten Countdown...


Y'all. In just 10 short days we are going to have THREE kids in school.
(and all the people said AMEN!)

Landry has been the least excited about going to kindergarten out of the Wee3Kings so I'm hoping her Kindergarten Countdown works some magic to build up that tear down those fears and build up that excitement. 



I LOVE making big deals out of big moments. Gifts and acts of service are my two major love languages so I show love by doing and giving. I also want the kiddos to know that school is something to celebrate! 


I do my best to make sure that I am as consistent as I can be with the kids but when I saw Landry's piled of goodies compared to Rad and Emmy's well...

Ha!


Landry King... you are going to be the most amazing kindergartener! You are smart and strong and courageous and kind. You are going to have the BEST time with your new friends and teachers and we are all cheering you on!!!


Let the countdown to Kindergarten begin!!!


8.17.2017

Camp King (Day 3&4)...

By the beginning of the third day, these Wee3Kings had the routine down. Up, dressed, teeth brushed and out the door on their scooters. Dear Conner and Elizabeth - thanks for suggesting they ride scooters into the welcome - that's why we had them in the car and they were the SMARTEST idea ever. Co-chairs for the win. 


The Wee260freshmen also had the routine down and were much more excited by 9am than on day 1. To watch the transformation of the freshmen is so fascinating no matter how many times you witness it - they all go from unsure to totally excited. THAT is what Fish Camp is about - getting you outside of your comfort zone, helping you gain confidence and surrounding you with 100s of other people that are also unafraid to act like crazy fools. 

;)



One of my favorite parts of camp is the Community of Respect program. Way back in 1997 this was just a 20 minute activity. Flash forward 20 years and this is a dedicated time each day of camp to talk about real topics in a setting that provides comfort and support. The co-chairs and counselors share real examples from their lives of times that they were challenged and had to overcome something. Defining moments can include a death, a failed course, a friend coming out, or a number of other things. 


These counselors put so much out there to make sure that these freshmen (people they JUST MET) have the best start to their college journey. Goodness, makes me tear up just thinking about it.


This is done in between the silly and sarcastic... they are breaking down barriers while building up relationships. These were the only DG times I didn't let the kids participate and y'all... Radley was so mad at me! ha.... he couldn't understand why he couldn't sit with the big kids and do what they were doing. I told him, somethings needed to wait until he was admitted into A&M. He forgot about it quickly when he got to "run" the lull signs.


At one point, I decided I could probably leave and go have a nice lunch in the big town of Palestine without anyone noticing I left. 


Also, the irony that my children needed things LOUDER? Ha!


So up until 10 years or so ago, each camp came up with a theme that carried throughout the entire week. Banners, hump-its (cheers to non-Aggies), shirts, decorations, etc... all centered around a central theme.

For example my Fish Camp history:
Camp Wedemeir Road Crew Warriors (Session B, Aqua)
Camp Severn Psychedelic Street Squadron (Session B, Purple)
Camp Morgan Pirates of the Lost Ark (Session B, Aqua)
Camp Carroll Raiders of the Lost Toy Chest (Session B, Purple)
Camp Carielli George Costanza's Big Top Bonanza (Session C, Purple)
Camp Guercio Stewy and Hutch (Session B, Yellow)

Now they make up TONS of different ideas centered around the camp name - they totally nailed my childhood with the Copeland Banner (this is the banner that ALL the camps see... so each camp wants to be the best. We clearly won.)


Although Radley had his own favorite... 


 One of the newer (to me) traditions at Fish Camp is the Yell Off.  Think dance battle with words. Better yet - think Eminem vs anyone else. Ha! This is a horrific quality photo, but please note who is front row Joeing it.... 


You won't really understand any of this - but it's worth a watch. 2 minutes of sass and sarcasm with snark on top. I LOVE IT!!! Seriously, this is totally my jam. 



After the yell off the entire session does a mini Yell Practice - Emersyn made a friend at camp named Emerson and she was also 7 and they were instantly obsessed with each other. 


Fighting Texas Aggie Class of 2021 you stole my heart. 


And this crew of fearless of leaders wasn't too bad either. 


And this member of the Class of 2030 is ready to move in any day now. 



 At this point, everyone is a **little** tired. The day begins winding down which just means that the night is just warming up. 


Which means it's time to party. The co-chairs get to be on stage during the mixers and the King kiddos got special permission to join them onstage. 

Y'all. I cannot even a little bit explain the fear I have of these girls going to college. As soon as they jumped on to the stage and into the spotlight and heard the roaring thunder of applause from their amazing dance moves, a fire was fueled. Emmy came running over to me, "DID YOU HEAR THEM SCREAMING FOR US! We are FAMOUS!"

(Dear Jesus, please know that I do my best to make them humble. Please don't let fame go to their heads. Amen.) 


This kid was less impressed. I'm not sure how many times he had to hear a college kid come up to the girls and tell me how cute they were. But he puts up with "the sisters" so well. He also gets to do big things that they don't, so I think it helps him handle their "fame". 


Oh. And Justin was still the favorite. 


I'm not sure how we stayed awake but we managed to hang on to the very end. 
(Also, nice photobomb, Austin.)


On the last night of camp the freshmen are treated to a special campfire speaker .... themselves. They are lead into their camp rooms and sit in a circle told that they are going to hear from an amazing speaker. And then they wait until finally one freshman figures out that they are the ones that get to speak. One by one they find the courage to share their story. Sometimes it's light hearted, some times it's deep, all the time it is an honor to play witness to the next generation of Aggies realizing that Aggieland is a unique place. We are full of our fair share of problems... but we do a pretty good job of welcoming you in to the biggest craziest family around.


The girls fell fast asleep ...


while Radley hung on every word. 



At this point, I'm not sure when I'll be back at Lakeview. So saying goodbye was bittersweet. This trip was especially meaningful because, well... kids. Y'all. I got to watch my kids go to Fish Camp. Who gets to do that? 

I got to see them really "get" what being an Aggie means. For days after all of their games centered around something they did or saw or played at Fish Camp. They whoop when they are excited. They reenact skits and try to do the yells and have their Camp King bracelets on. They pick out their camp shirts to wear. They want to know when they will see Bayle and Nevins and Justin and Zack and Coach Conner and all of the Aggies again. They want to know if Camp King is going to do something when school starts. (Are we?)

I got to see them really become Aggies. Not just because it's where I went to school. Or where Ryan and I met. Or because I have that ring on my finger. I got to see them choose Aggieland. And that's a gift that I will forever be grateful for. 


Being a namesake is hard to describe...when I was a freshman, I never would have imagined that a camp would be named after me. Twenty years later and it's happened twice. I'm not sure what I did to deserve the recognition but I am so grateful that I got to witness Fish Camp from this view. The person in the back of the room that just gets to soak it all in and hopefully make an impact in some form or fashion. I hope my words found meaning to someone. I hope they know that my office door is always open to them. Even if it's to just one person - I aim to make a difference. Because they have all made a difference to me.