Its that time of year...end of the year party time at school. Tomorrow is my kids last day of school and I got to spend some time at AJ's class party. We have been super-blessed that AJ had Mrs. Beckley the last 2 years. She travels to Malawi every-other summer to teach so she has a huge heart for Africa and loves are boy like crazy. Through blood, sweat, (& my tears), she has taught our boy to read and has even asked to tutor him over the summer to get him ready for 4th grade. As much as I fuss about my kids & school, we really could not have asked for a better teacher for AJ. We will miss Mrs. Beckley so much, but luckily, she moved down the street from us last summer so we will still see her around.
The girls made it to the 2nd round of their school's talent show, which meant they were able to perform in front of all the 1st grade classes, teachers, and parents. I'm assuming AJ's role on the school's jump rope team has some influence on this routine.
We lost the 4th member of the group for the picture, but were still able to capture 3 of them for a photo
Memorial Day weekend seemed like a good time to visit Matt's grandparents (Great-grandpa and Gigi) in southern Illinois. Mom decided to sit this one out, so Dad bravely headed west with the kids in tow.
A rest area in Illinois had this great little playground, which was a perfect opportunity to stretch our legs and get out some energy on the 5 1/2 hour trip.
On Saturday we went down to the Dragon Park just south of Carbondale, IL. This neat little park was built by a family in memory of their son. It has a castle and statues of dragons and wizards and fairies.
Chloe & Essie
Essie finds her way through the maze of passages in the castle.
It's hard to see, but there's three kids peeking through that window.
Later in the day, we headed down to Giant City State Park for a little hiking, which is becoming one of our family's favorite activities (especially when Mom's not there).
The twins check out a stuffed deer in the Visitor's Center
Essie is fascinated by snakes - just like her dad was when he was her age.
Looking eye-to-eye with a bobcat
There is little our kids enjoy more than climbing on big rock formations. That made this park a perfect stop, as it is full of huge boulders, cracks, and crevasses to explore.
It was fun to watch how much more confident, comfortable, and daring the girls are getting in this type of terrain.
AJ & Chloe
AJ and Essie wave up to Dad
Squeezing through a crack in the rocks. (Dad went around.)
AJ runs out of ledge
Essie - queen of the rock
Chloe trying to find a way over
We stopped at the lodge to get some water and found this big stuffed bison.
This little guy stopped and posed for us as we drove past.
Chloe and Essie sit a spell on Gigi's front porch.
You know how sometimes you take your kids 300 miles away to visit your 92-year-old grandparents, and you neglect to take a single picture of them together? Yeah, that was me this weekend. However, we had a really nice visit with Great-grandpa and Gigi, and it was a very special time. The kids were great, and my grandparents were thrilled to have company. Many good memories were made. Even though none of them made it into pictures.