Thursday, September 4, 2014

goodbye summer / hello school

This summer, Cullen and Simone hung out with Emily.  From June - August, she drove them to tennis lessons, swimming lessons and library playtimes.  I think the three of them conquered all of the parks, pools and libraries in La Crosse.  The kids had a blast (and I hope Emily did too)!

Then, before we knew it, the school year was upon us.  Cullen is officially in Kindergarten.  He was familiar with his teacher (our neighbor Harry had her last year so Cullen new she was alright). I didn't really dwell on this fact before the first day.  But all of a sudden as I was saying goodbye, I almost broke down and cried.  Cullen is at the best age.  He loves his family (he thinks we are super cool and loves spending time with us).  He is so eager to learn, eager to explore and eager to show affection.  Sometimes Dirk and I wish we could freeze him at this age forever.  But alas, every age has it's high points and growing up is what we are meant to do.  Cullen Swanson was put on this Earth to be amazing.  And we are honored to support him on his journey.

Miss Simone starts 4-year-old preschool this year.  She is still at the YMCA daycare, but just moves onto the next room.  She has already been asking to practice writing her "S's" and is pumped that her new room has books on tape.  Cullen told her that her new teacher, "Miss Lisa", is groovy.  This little one is also ready to conquer the world!

say yes to facepainting

We have some friends in La Crosse whose 4-year-old son is battling cancer.  As a tribute to Will, we are involved in #actsofyes.  Basically, they are wishing for everyone to make the most out of the moments with our kids.  It's time to say Yes to the small requests:  ice cream before dinner, playing in the rain, fingerpainting, etc.  On the night of Cullen's Kindergarten open house, we decided to dine at the local root beer stand.  They had hired a face-painter to entertain the customers.  There was a small line and Dirk and I were wishing that we could just get home.  Simone and Cullen looked at us and said "PLEASE can we get our faces painted?!"  At that moment, Dirk looked at me and said "Say yes".  And I knew exactly what he meant.  Instead of rushing through life and letting the little things frustrate you.  It's time to live in the now and just say yes.  Will, we are thinking of you every day and hoping and praying that you will beat Cancer.  You are a tough kid, show 'em what you've got!

BFL 2014

Put another great Big Fish Lake vacation in the record books.  Just like last year, we hit the MN Zoo and then made the trek up to Cold Spring.  Everyone had fun - but especially the kids.  Cullen and Mason have always been best buds and now Simone and Dane are attached at the hip.  The highlight may have been the trip to the dollar store with grandma and grandpa.  Every little one picked out a prize that was uniquely them:  Mason - pirate costume set, Cullen - Nerf gun and darts, Simone - a princess wand and Dane - cars and trucks.

We feel so fortunate to have a lifetime of memories on Big Fish Lake.  It's a special place that we all love.

backyard tenting.

So after our sandbar camping debacle last summer, we decided that our kind of camping is backyard camping.  Therefore, we set up a tent in the backyard and roasted S'mores.  This type of camping is awesome!  The refrigerator keeps the beer cold, the bathroom is always clean and I can actually sleep in a bed while the braver family members lay in the tent.  This night brought its own challenges.  After skipping a nap, Simone was a bit testy.  She hauled off and hit her brother for no reason.  To make an example out of this action, we told her she was not allowed to sleep in the tent.  She cried for awhile, but still played in the tent decked our in her pjs.  Cullen, of course, was on cloud 9!  He loves the tent and thinks peeing outside is the best part!  At the close of the night (and maybe we allowed the kids to stay up too late), Simone and I went to bed and Cullen decided that the house was a better option.  No one actually slept in the tent.  But I guess it didn't matter.  The kids still think it was a great night!!