Our family has loved cheering on our Milwaukee Brewers this season. We have been to four games and each one has been thrilling to watch. Miller Park is a fantastic venue and all of the kids look forward to our walk in under the bridge, the sausage races, the seventh-inning stretch, the polka break, the indoor play area, and the many snacks that we are able to bring in. We are so hopeful that they are on their way to the World Series!
Mali telling Everly what to expect at the game later
This was Everly after the sausage race. She is a die-hard Chorizo fan. Unfortunately, the Bratwurst won this round.
Happy golden birthday, Brinnly Ruth Ward! 11 years on September 11th! It was a wonderful birthday for our girl this year. She started with an appearance in the Valpo Popcorn Festival parade on the golf cart with her Aunt Kara, throwing candy and supporting the cheerleaders. Then on her actual birthday, the girls in her class decorated her locker and brought in sweet cards and candy. (It's a tradition for all the girls in her class to do this and they all do such a nice job!). She had all of her favorites foods to eat including New Orleans gumbo for dinner and loved opening her kind cards and gifts from friends and family. She even let her siblings share her new reading chair. :)
Brinnly has been a trooper this year. We finally figured out her diagnosis of abdominal migraines that weighed her down last spring. Her transition to a new school has gone very smoothly and she loves her new group of friends. She's made a lot of gains in volleyball and is a key part of the team (and the bench!). She's always a helper at home, a loving sister, and one making us laugh. We love so you dearly, Brinner-Bugs and thank God for the gift you are to our family.
Everyone is officially off to school! Delaney (1st), Carrigan (4th), Brinnly (6th), and Amalia (7th). Also pictured: Everly (sad not to be going to school with Carrigan) and Grant (exhausted by all of the morning activity so resting at the breakfast table).
We had a wonderful time at the end of July on our bi-annual Northern Michigan vacation. We started the trip on Carrigan's birthday, made it to the Tucker family reunion in time, and spent the rest of the week relaxing with family in our vacation rental house. So much fun! We boated, fished, played games, swam, and did a day trip to Mackinaw Island. This year's visit there even included a tour of the Governor's Mansion and brisket tacos at our favorite restaurant there. Can't wait to do it all again in two years!
(Google photos put this movie together of some of our favorite shots)
Here's a few shots of how we celebrated the Fourth of July this year. We started with the annual Baroda fireworks show at Aunt Grace's house and the kids were thrilled with the motorcycle rides too. Everly cried when her sisters left until she was promised a ride of her own next. We fit in tractor rides the next day and the twins even got to go the parade with Grandpa and Grandma
It was a rainy several days but that didn't stop us from having fun camping this year! Yes, we did wet laundry and took care of soaked tents, but we managed to still fit in all of our favorite traditions. The beach was perfect, the campground was great, the campfires were cozy, and we had wonderful family time together. We'll do it again (one way or another) next year!
I still have all of our July and August pictures to post and write about but before we get to those, I wanted to recap the week that we had. It typical Ward fashion, it was a doozy.
Last week we went to school for the regularly scheduled classroom visits and school supply drop off, for all four of the big girls. Thursday, we had a lovely time at Jonathan's work first-ever company picnic and left early from that to head to our school's annual picnic and pool party. That event is always fun for the kids and parents.
Afer leaving there however, we realized again that although we love our school dearly, the setting and size of the school is just not the right fit for Amalia and Brinnly. We kept thinking that they would do better in a larger setting so that they could find a bigger pool of Christian friends. After a long talk over popcorn and custard with the girls, we committed to looking into other options, even though time was short.
The next day, we managed to tour a Christian school very near to our home. It is in a partnership with the church that runs my MOPS program and our girls' GEMS program. We met with the principal and teachers, reviewed the curriculum, and talked with friends with kids who attend there. I also made contacted five different Lutheran schools in our community. We prayed (and cried) about these options. That evening we called our pastor for his opinion and asked him to write us a (required) recommendation for the Christian school. We were blessed with his support.
On Saturday, we woke up bright and early to drive to Michigan to visit with the usual family there, see Aunt Pam visiting from Michigan, cousins from Illinois, and celebrate Grandma Dena's birthday. We went to the fair and did everything important there, Jonathan took the kids and friends to the beach, And we talked over our school options with all of our extended family. Again, they were so supportive! Somewhere during that time we also submitted our application to the new school.
The new week came and we then made the hard call to officially withdraw Amalia and Brinnly from their current school. We had hard conversations with the principal and Board of Chrisitan Education chair. We completed the new school applications and scholarship request. We talked to friends and were so grateful for their guidance.
On Tuesday, we took Carrigan and Delaney for their first days at school. They did great and we are so proud of them. (More pictures of that to follow!). Amalia took a math placement test, and we waited some more. Jonathan and I interviewed with the principal and Board of Ed representative there on Wednesday-such an interesting procedure for admission. It's like nothing we've ever done before but we are grateful for it.
Finally, on Thursday all of the final details fell into place. Exactly one week later, we joined our NEW school for their "Back to School Picnic" and Amalia and Brinnly will start next week with the rest of the students there. Yes, we will have two different schools (and calendars) for our family this year, with the twins still at home. It will be hectic and busy and not at all what we expected for this school year. We will dearly miss having our girls all in one school and mourn the loss of our church school for our older girls. It was an extrememly hard decision to move them to somewhere new, but we are so excited for this opportunity for them. Go make us proud, Amalia and Brinnly!
I haven't been able to download all of main pictures from that event from my good camera yet, but a belated happy birthday AND congratulations to our cousin Lauren! She graduated from high school on her birthday and now is off to Ball State this fall. We drove down to Indiana to celebrate with her and catch up with family there. We even managed to stop on the way to celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day with Grandma Deni and John, who drove there on a flashy new red motorcycle that quite impressed the kids.
We are so proud of you Lauren! (And here's a few flashback photos of when she wasn't quite so grown up!)
The Kurths were here! Our dear Texan friends visited us this summer for a whole week. We packed in as much as possible during that time with park time, driveway basketball, card games, a date night, a visit to Madison, an overnight at a Dells water park (with the Ryans!) a Brewers game, and a kids' production of a play written by Kaeta. Such a wonderful visit with so many memories. Here's a few shots and the link to even more pictures.