Our local grocery store recently got these little carts for their "customers in training" and Maylie was more than happy to give them a trial run. She looked so cute with all of her little items in her cart and was quite the little helper loading everything onto the cart and putting the bags back into her cart to take back out to the car. I sure do love having my sweet little sidekick during the day!
A family in our ward owns a home right on the water near the Chesapeake Bay and invited us to go on a sailing trip with them on Saturday, September 9th. This was their home that literally backs right down to the water. I don't know how you would every get anything done with that view and such fun right outside your door!
Here is Jason and I ready for our sailing excursion. It was a beautiful day and the views were amazing!
We went with another family from our ward who has children of similar ages to our kids which made it even more fun for everyone. Here is Abby with her good friend Hanna.
And Landon with his friend Bridger!
It wasn't really swimming weather (70 degrees) but that didn't stop the kids from jumping on in! We also went kayaking around the pier area and did some exploring near their sandy beach.
A balloon sword fight may have happened too!
The highlight of the day was catching some good ol' Maryland crabs and eating them for dinner. The kids loved catching them with chicken drumsticks and a net and got lessons from Sister Hall on the proper way to eat them.
Despite having the longest summer we've ever had, somehow the start of school still managed to sneak up on us!
On Monday, September 4th, Jason gave all of the kids Father's blessings to help out with the start of school.
Maylie did not want to be left out!
September 5th was the first day of school and there was quite a bit of excitement in the air!
Abby is in 6th grade at Western Heights Middle School. It is a magnet school for Arts Integration and she will be specializing in theater. She was nervous (and so was I) but was also super excited about this new adventure in front of her!
Landon is starting 4th grade with Ms. Sneckenberger. He's one of the "big boys" on campus now!
And our little Nolan is in 1st grade with Mrs. Lund. He still wishes we could stay home and play LEGOs all day, but was still excited about going back to school and seeing his friends again!
I took Abby to Middle School but no pictures. She's too old for that!! I did snap a few picture of the boys on their way into Elementary school...
And one picture of Nolan in his classroom before he told me to stop!!
The house is a lot quieter with just Maylie and me at home. I hope these kids have a great school year!!
We promised the kids a trip to Hershey if they read the entire Book of Mormon this summer. Abby and Landon both read the entire book by themselves and Nolan read the Children's version. Time for Hershey Chocolate World then!!
We headed up to Hershey on the last Friday before school started and were able to meet up with Jason's sister Shanna and her family who live in Ohio. While we waited for them to arrive, we took a few pictures around the area inside...
Then each of the kids picked out their favorite chocolate bar that were bigger than their heads!!
We didn't buy these huge candy bars for them, but we did get to make our very own chocolate bar on one of our chocolate excursions.
Everyone got to choose just what kind of candy bar they wanted and even got to design a label to go with it!
Afterwards we did the free chocolate tour a few times. I could do this tour all the time and never get bored. It is so fun!
We also saw the Hershey 4-D Movie as part of our package too...
We headed to a little park nearby for lunch and then went back to Hershey World for a little more chocolate tasting and souvenir buying. Plus one more free tour too!
We had plans to go to Hershey Park the next day as part of their reward for the Book for Mormon challenge, but we ended up getting season passes to Six Flags in D.C. instead for the same cost as just one day at Hershey Park. We were only able to stay for an hour before they closed the park due to poor weather, but at least with season passes, we know we can come back often!
We had our last day at Northwood Pool on Wednesday, August 30th. We had a great time going there all summer and it was nice to have something to look forward to during those sometimes long summer afternoons!
Landon was glad this his friend Grant was there on our last day...
Abby had fun with her friends Ava and Amanda. Of course Nolan has a hard time leaving them alone too!
And what was Maylie enjoying?
Some snacks of course!
Maylie became quite the little fish this summer and loved swimming all over the place by herself with her "floaties." Nolan also became a much better swimmer after all those pool sessions. No swim lessons needed when you spend so much time at the lake and pool each summer!
We had just a few weeks left until our Philadelphia Science Center membership expired, so we had to make it over to their partner museum, the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore to enjoy it one last time. We started out in the dinosaur area, digging for fossils and learning all about the creatures from long ago...
I think their favorite area was this building block area. Abby made a pretty awesome throne for herself!
Nolan wanted to build a tower bigger than he was and kept adding steps in order to get in even higher.
Jason pitched in to help and this was their final result!!
Abby also had fun creating this fun play castle too!
Then Landon had to try his hand at tower building too...
And one last creation from Nolan. We definitely spent most of our time just in this one area!
Learning all about the human body was far less interesting to Maylie than pretending to talk to two people at once with these headsets.
At the beginning of August, a ward member invited us over to their house to pick some peaches. Abby was at her summer party, but Landon, Nolan, Maylie and I all had a fun time picking these juicy and delicious peaches.
It was like a little jungle through all those trees!
Abby was invited to a special swim/campout party with some of her closest friends from Elementary school. All of these girls are doing into 6th grade next year at several different schools so it was fun to get together again before they all begin this new stage in their lives. Abby didn't spend the night, but went over for the activities that night and again the next morning.
I hope these girls always remember just how strong and beautiful they all are. This world has a way of making girls feel like they aren't "enough" but I hope they always hold dear these feeling of belonging and strength.
I think their favorite activity was spreading dish soap all over the trampoline and having quite the jumping/sliding/splashing party!
They also added some to a big camping tarp to create their own slip n' slide!