Shooey! What a month it has been for our family! After being at the beach for a week, then home for a week, then off to China for two weeks, then getting home with one week to go before school started back up, you could say things were a leeeeeetle crazy around our house for awhile. BUT. We are getting back into a good routine, which is a good thing since the 2017-18 school year started back yesterday!
One thing I love about our elementary school is that they now do a "staggered start" for kindergarten. This means that, for each of the first four days of school, each child only attends one day (which is determined based on the month of their birthdate). This allows the kindergartens to have a nice, small intro to kindergarten with just a few students in the class at a time. For Raleigh, because her birthday is in January, she got to go on the first official day of school, along with Banks. But now, she won't return again until next Wednesday, when all of the kindergarten students will begin attending together. So, it's like I get a few bonus days of summer with her, which I am so excited about! Also, because of the big eclipse happening on Monday, Banks only has a half day that day, which will be so fun!
Annnnnnywho. Now that I have blabbered on about that, here are a few things we are saying CHEERS to 'round these parts over the last couple of weeks:
Kindergarten. I was so, SO excited when I got the email informing us of who Raleigh's kindergarten teacher would be. There were two we were hoping for and she was so lucky to get one of them. Yay! We went to meet her teacher (and teacher's aide) earlier this week, and while Rals was timid, she opened right up as soon as her teacher started asking her about Bella. <3
Ready to rock this year!
It's going to be a great year for our kindergartner!
Then, yesterday was the big day! As we do, our whole family loaded in the car for the big first day drop off. Per usual, Raleigh was excited...but a bit timid. I wasn't sure how it would go. But. She did GREAT. I dropped her off and her sweet, sweet teacher swooped right in and complimented her dress. So, she pretty much won our dress-loving girl over right then and there-ha!
Walking into school with Momma <3
And let me not forget my sweet 2nd grader, who also had an awesome first day! He was so sweet and insisted on helping walk Raleigh to her class with me. :) And then he didn't even flinch and walked right into his room. Done and done! I didn't tear up one time...until I was in carpool line to pick them up?! As soon as they started coming out, my eyes welled with tears. I was just so proud of them and couldn't WAIT to hug them and hear all about their days. And they both just went on and on about how much they loved it. Full heart, over here.
Bella's adjustment. We are really so proud of our Bella. Now, don't get me wrong: things haven't been perfect or easy or perfectly easy. We are still getting to know one another and we are trying to understand each other and we have quite a long road of unknowns and challenges ahead of us. BUT this girl is amazing. I will do a full update in a couple of weeks but for now, I will share that she is eating and sleeping like a CHAMP. She really only gets fussy when she is tired, hungry, or hot. And this girl is absolutely ADORED by her big siblings. They love to help her walk and make her laugh and snuggle her. She is so well loved. <3
Generous and gracious friends. When we moved to the Mill, we basically hit the jackpot as far as friends and neighbors go. We live in such a wonderful, family friendly neighborhood and are so blessed to have made so many amazing friends here. Every night since we brought Bella home, we have had friends drop off meals, which are scheduled to continue into September. This has been the biggest blessing for us, especially as we work to overcome jet lag, adjust to being a family of six, try to learn about and understand one another, and prepare for the new school year. I seriously cannot thank our friends enough for all of the support they have provided us. Because I despise cooking, my litlte family isn't used to such awesome dinner meals. We have been spoiled and my poor hub and kiddos will certainly miss the delicious food once I have to take the dinner reigns again. ;)
My new nephew. The most amazing thing happened while we were on our flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles...my brother and sister "in law" welcomed their second child, a BOY (no one knew the sex of the baby; they already an amazing, smart, beautiful little girl). It was so fun to be texting with my sister "in law" while on the other side of the world when she started having contractions at home and then to find out mid-flight that the baby was here and a boy! I cannot WAIT to get my hands on sweet Avery. <3
Football. Can I get a heck yeah?! College football is right around the corner. Although this is the first year my hub and I opted out of our season tickets to save money for our adoption, you can bet your bottom dollar we will at least make it to a couple games this season. And I fully intend to get back to our season tickets next season, when all this America stuff is old news to our Bella. :) So, even though we'll be watching many more games from our couch than we have in years, I am still pumped for football Saturdays and all they entail. Go Tigers!!! Different team, same dream. #wewonthenatty ;)
Wrapping up summer. We closed out summer with a bang. From the time we got home from China, we had exactly one week until school started back up. And while we certainly are following Bella's cues about what she can handle at this point, we were still able to have some fun outside of our home! It was a great way to end what was certainly the most eventful (and fast!) summer of our lives.
Cheering on Daddy in his church softball tourney...
...Spoiler alert: they won! Go Forest Hill!
So fun introducing Bels to our neighborhood pool!
A little back-to-school shoe shopping with my big two
The perks of having great friends who have an older boy with the same name as your youngest son :) Shop's open for business!
Supporting our favorite new orthodontist, who got to man the practice's snowcone truck for the day to help introduce her to her new town :)
Last day of summer ice cream. Bella HATES ice cream. And snow cones. And anything cold, really. (In China, everything is served room temperature or warmer)
Plan-free and happy as can be. Given the chaos that was the latter end of the summer, we are keeping the next few weekends as low key as possible, which will definitely be a nice change of pace. :) We have some special visitors arriving today and will be attending our neighborhood's back-to-school pool party tomorrow. Other than that, we will follow Bella's cues on what she feels up to. I am happy to share that we were able to go to church last Sunday, even though we had only been home for three days. Our church has a separate viewing room for any families who may need it (e.g., families with new babies); so, Clay and I were able to sit in there and watch the sermon with Bella while our older three were able to participate in their regular church classrooms. This was INCREDIBLY important to me - God has been with us every step of our journey and I just needed to be at church ASAP, so that I could feel even more in His presence and express my gratitude over and over and over. Amen.
And with that, have a GREAT weekend. And here's hoping we all have a great view of the solar eclipse on Monday!