Wednesday, July 26, 2017

3rd Grade Here He Comes!

Summer is over?! WHAT?!?!
Somehow the summer flew by and it's already time for back to school!

This summer was super fun but it had an underlying sense of anxiety and fear. 
For the past three years school has been a beautiful little bubble of parties for no reason, unlimited volunteer time in the classroom, and homework consisting of little to nothing.

But times, they are a changing! 
Third grade is here and we have literally been dreading it since Kindergarten. 
Lots of changes come with 3rd grade. 
New teachers.
Big kid hallway,
Standardize testing. 
Lots more homework and projects.
Less parent interaction in the classroom (for the kids on good).
And switching classes!!!

It's really a big jump from what we have known. 

We spent the summer sort of avoiding talking about the situation and the other part totally hyping up how awesome it was going to be for Hensley. 

Hensley struggled a lot with anxiety last year including separation anxiety.
That in itself made us uneasy of how he would handle all the change. 
He is not a fan of change and always asks us why he can't be home schooled.  
Don't get me wrong Hensley does love school and he totally thrives there. 
He is smart and most things at school come easy for him. He is also super friendly and social and makes friends with no problem. 
However, he is a homebody and ultimately likes his personal space and alone time. 
Routine and order are his ideal situation. 

As open house approached we encouraged him to go into with an open mind and positive attitude.
He had a teacher in mind that he wanted to have based on who his friends had the previous year. 
We took the time to explain to him that God was going to put him wherever he wanted Hensley to be and wherever he would thrive and succeed. 

We helped him be a little more prepared by having all his supplies ready to take with us to open house so he would have even less to worry about the first day of school. We also prepared a little gift for each teacher to sort of "break the ice" and let them know we are excited for this year. 
We filled this cute little mason jars we found at Target with lots of candy and chocolate which every teacher loves!

Hensley was looking so handsome! And grown!

To our surprise, as soon as we got to school Hensley went right in with no hesitation and looking as confident as ever! 
We headed to the gym to get his teacher assignments and see who was in his class!

We were pleasant surprised to see that he was placed in Mrs. Bambury's class with some the best kids in his grade. It as already shaping up to be a good year!

The great thing about going to a small charter school that goes from Kindergarten through 12th grade is that, Hensley knew exactly where his classroom and how to get there. The fact that we knew pretty much every single teacher, staff and parents as we walked down the hall is also another huge perk!!!

Hensley went right in and introduced himself and started looking around, and I really felt immediate peace. It felt so right!! All of our fears slipped away!

Mrs. Bambury was so sweet and gave us a lot of great information and really made it her duty to talk directly to Hensley and encouraged him and reassured him about how great this year was going to be!

He is always proud to be a Grizzly!

Another great thing about open house at our school every year is that they always have Pelican's Snoballs! Perfect considering it was 100 degrees!

Each year after open house we always go to Steak n' Shake for dinner and chat about all things back to school!

Andy was way to busy looking at the menu to get in our picture. You can totally tell how happy this kid is here!
We went home feeling at ease and very blessed to be able to be a part of such an awesome school family!


Before we knew it a week had pasted and a it time for school. Time for routine and up at 6 am each day. 

Hensley got up easy which was super surprising to me considering we were getting up past 9 am each morning all summer (and sometimes 10!).
Breakfast, teeth brushed, new clothes on. lunch packed and out the door! 

I found this super cute board at Target in the dollar spot of all places!!!! It's wonderful and it saved me from making one like I do each year, and we can use it for years to come!


We had a wonderful ride to school and watched funny pig videos on YouTube all the way to help ease any first day jitters! And it worked!!! He laughed and smiled all the way to school!!! No tears, no obvious anxiety just a hop out of the car and a quick "Goodbye!". 

It's always hard for me on the first day of school. I spend every single day with him and our summers are super special to us. It's back to being away from him all day and finding things to fill my days. 
Letting him grow up and be independent is so very important and I know that, but it doesn't make it any easier on my heart. I am extremely blessed to have such a great, close relationship with my boy and I pray all the time that we can continue that as he grows older. I work hard to talk to him about everything, making sure he knows we are always here for him. He is my cuddle bug. My sweet freckled face kid. My favorite boy in the whole wide world. Letting is go is hard but I have to stay focused on what's best for him and how very lucky we are to have a child who is healthy and happy and excited to grow up! 

He is ready for 3rd grade but I'm not sure if 3rd grade is ready for him!!!


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Week in Paradise 2017

We always look forward to our week away in our little paradise at Kure Beach.
We have been going since Hensley was 1 year old and it's something he absolutely enjoys every minute of! 
This year with all that had been going on with Andy and his injuries we were even more excited to go and get away and just relax as a family. We even let Hensley skip out on the last day of school to head down early.
Andy's mom, LouAnn, also went with us this year. She hasn't been with us to the beach since Hensley was about 2 so it was really nice to have her there with us and enjoy some extra time with her. 

We have never been down to the beach on a holiday weekend but we decided to chance it this year since Kure Beach is usually never really "busy". We headed down on the Wednesday before Memorial Day hoping to beat all the traffic! We did! :) 

Hensley knows that when we cross over the bridge, the beach is only minutes away!

In a perfect world this would be our view every single day!
There is no better feeling then pulling up to our little hotel and smelling that ocean air! We are extremely lucky to know the best place to stay in the area and look so forward to seeing David and the rest of the crew each summer. 

Hensley could not wait to get into the hot tub. He immediately changed into his swimsuit and jumped straight in!  

We headed to beach to take in that beautiful view!
No better feeling then sand in toes!

That sun though!

The waves were rough but Hensley had no fear. For a little boy with so many fears in life one of those is NOT the ocean and I love watching him play in it.

We hung around for the afternoon since it was a little gloomy but it made for a very pretty evening and a great night to be on the beach!

Is he not the cutest boy ever?!

The next morning we woke up early and headed to the beach. It's always so quiet in the mornings on the beach and it's the most beautiful time of the day! It was also so gloomy the day before so it was wonderful to see the sun!!!

Looking for shells after a rough storm is always more fun!  See that drain in the back? We have NEVER seen it before. The beach is usually many many many yards wider then it was after the storm. It was crazy to see the beach so washed away.
Looking for shells!

Hensley found a seagull feather!

The beach was really really washed away this morning because of a bad storm earlier in the week. We had never experienced it like this.

Hensley was getting pretty lucky this morning. He found a piece of coral washed ashore. AND it had a ladybug on it! Double lucky!

We always love wandering down to the pier. 

Waking up early at the beach is always a good idea!

Later that day we headed down to South Kure Beach to explore. Kure Beach is quiet anyway but down south it's so beautiful and even more isolated. It makes for a great relaxing day. 

I didn't take too many photos on our trip down there. It's so beautiful I could literally take photos the whole time! We played in the rocks searching for treasures, tried to keep the boogie board from flying away,  and played in the small pools of water that developed from the low tide.

Back to the room for lunch and a chill session before some pool time with MawMaw!!!

Annual pool throwing photo!!!

Dinner and another tradition....the arcade was on the agenda for the night. Hensley LOVES the arcade that we walk to from our hotel. They have awesome games and give out lots of tickets for some great prizes. We usually try to go each night and he saves all his tickets until the end!
We also walk on the pier almost every night and get ice cream. It's the great end to each day for sure. 

Lucky like Daddy!!
Squeeze a smile out of him at the pier!

The guy who owns the pier is really an awesome guy. He is always there and super friendly and funny. I had to snap a picture of the most asked questions he has got over the years. I thought it was really funny!

A night spent at Kure Beach Pier is always a great night!

The next was a very important day!!! It was Andy's birthday!!!! This was the first time we were at the beach for his birthday and it's perfect because this is truly his happy place! We had a very chill day! We hung out at the pool and hot tub a lot. Ate lunch at the hotel and played cards. It was a beautiful day!!! And we went to dinner to celebrate and had all you can eat crab it was basically the best day ever!

The birthday boy had a great day!

I absolutely love this picture of Hensley!
I absolutely this photo of Andy.

We don't have a ton of pictures of all of us together with LouAnn. I love this one so much because every time I look at it I remember her laughing and just having the best day with us!
We went to eat crab legs and they were amazing!!!! We went to a new place for us called Fins to celebrate Andy's birthday. This place was great. The food was awesome and the service was really good. We will come back on our next trip for sure!!!

After dinner we took one last walk on the beach down to the pier for a few souvenirs and to the arcade to cash in all Hensley's tickets he had earned on our trip.  

We just love this arcade. The games are great. They give lots of tickets out and it's just so so fun!

Hensley really wanted this GIANT stuffed sea turtle but it was a lot of 3000 or something crazy. When he cashed them all in he was SO CLOSE. Literally only 20 or so away from having enough tickets. The kids who work there super nice and let him go ahead and get it anyway because they were shocked he had so many. They said they haven't seen anyone have enough to earn that prize in a long time! They even through in the little baby sea turtle too!! He was over the moon happy!!!

 Each year we take a family photo on the beach. We always ask a stranger to take our photo so we never know how it will turn out. This year it wasn't too bad :)

I am always so thankful for these moments with my little family on the beach. It puts us in such a relaxed mood and it's just so beautiful!

Kure Beach is truly our happy place and we look so forward to every chance we get to come here.

The last night wouldn't be complete without a hot tub session!

We spent the evening laughing and playing in the hot tub. The perfect end to Andy's birthday! Happy birthday to the best daddy and husband! So happy you can be at the beach on your birthday! You are a strong, big hearted, funny, sweet man and we are do thankful to have you in our lives. Happy birthday love.
Our last full day at the beach! Spent every second at the beach and the pool soaking up all the sunshine.

Heading home is never ever fun. It's sad to leave his beautiful serene place behind but we are so excited to see our puppies and start SUMMER BREAK!!!!!

 Snapped our annual photo before we left outside at the Kure Keys Mural and sign :)

I've gushed about Kure Beach and Kure Keys for many and always will :) It's our happy place. Our home away from home....and who knows....maybe one day it will be home :) 

Times with this sweet boy are what make my heart sing. I know he will grow up and probably not enjoy or look forward to beach trips with his parents as much as he will those with his friends. And that is okay, but while he still will, I will take every opportunity to hold his hand and walk on the beach.