The school looked like this for most of the summer
Dan moved boxes like these over and over again as the contractors moved from one space to another.
And yet, he managed to save some energy to play at the end of his long days.
Because of the demolition and construction at school, they didn't host a summer camp this year. Instead, Emma had a babysitter two days a week named Judi who normally watches three sisters who attend Emma's school. Their family allows Judi to take on additional children to supplement her income. My parents were generous enough to watch Emma every Thursday, so we managed to scrape through without camp this summer.
Emma with Ms. Judi
Emma with the sisters she joined for the summer - from left to right, Sarah, Lily, Emma, and Mia, ready to work on an art project with Ms. Judi
Dan worked a lot of overtime this summer, and one Saturday in August, he helped manage a volunteer work day where StoneBridge parents, students, and other friends came to help prepare the building for the first day of school.
There were tons of volunteers and they accomplished a lot in one day!
While Dan was working hard, the girls and I joined Dan's brother and sister-in-law, Tim and Dawn, and their boys at the Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center for a family hike/fundraiser event.
Some of us eating lunch together
Emma, Hallie, and their younger cousins, Aaron, Josiah, and Micah, hiked with the adults to the Learning Tree, a tree house that the kids loved climbing on. The older cousins, Benjamin and Nathan, took a longer hike with their friends.
After our hike, it felt nice to swim in the retreat center's pool. Before we left, Emma got to sign Josiah's new cast.
We got an exciting new addition to our neighborhood this summer - Nothing Bundt Cakes opened a store near us! They had a grand opening event where the first 50 customers got free cake every month for a year!
Mom and I sat outside the store for 2 hours that morning to win our free cakes. Time well spent, in my opinion!
We were #11 and #12 in line, and there were more than 50 people there by the time the store opened!
Speaking of Nothing Bundt Cakes, we got to enjoy one at our Jester summer birthday celebration. We celebrated Tim, Dawn, Rob, Benjamin, Nathan, my mom, Dawn's mom, and Hallie's birthday all at once. It was a little crazy, but fun.
Hallie got a kick out of us all singing "Happy Birthday to You" eight times in a row, once for each person! Ha!
She got some fun gifts that day, including an adorable Noah's Ark toy that Emma picked out for her.
Somehow Hallie's new toy was taken over by all the other cousins.
But she was busy playing harmonica with Grandma Jester
And swinging with Grandpa Jester
Our last trip of the summer was to my mom's family reunion at the Ranch House in Texas over Labor Day weekend. We haven't been able to go since Hallie was born, so this was her first visit to the Ranch House. We squeezed a lot of activity and fun, but not a lot of sleep (thanks to Hallie) into our 3 days there. It was wonderful to see all the family members who were able to come, too!
The Ranch House is on some of the prettiest land I've seen in Texas. They have so many fun things to do there. Emma and cousin Meera had fun driving the Jeep.
Hallie hitched a ride with cousin Sadie
We went fishing at the pond
The kids got their very own pool to enjoy during the heat of the day (the adults were a little bit jealous!)
Uncle Steve pushing Hallie on the baby swing. She spent half her weekend in that swing.
They have an awesome horse-shaped tire swing for the older kids. Dan gave all the kids a turn.
Emma and Hallie were in heaven with unlimited outdoor time and so many cousins to play with! The girls gathered some large rocks and built a pretend campfire. They fished the toy fish out of the kiddie pool to cook for supper. So cute!
This girl turned two years old the day after we arrived home from Texas. We barely made the cutoff to get one last free flight for her!
Now that school is back in session, Dan's schedule has calmed down a bit. No more overtime for him, since the contractors can't tear down any walls while the teachers and kids are in school. Hallie and I get to drop Emma off at school in the mornings. She isn't showing it here, but it's the highlight of Hallie's day to be a big girl and help Emma carry her lunchbox or water bottle into school.
Dan often picks the girls up after school and he took them to play at our neighborhood lake one hot evening.
Obviously, their outing ended with the girls jumping into the lake fully-clothed. Haha! I was a little confused when they came into the house dripping wet.
These girls keep our lives interesting and fun!