Everybody Needs a Friend

One of the best things about watching your kids grow up, is seeing them start to become little, independent people with friends of their own.  It always gets me when a Mom or Dad approaches me and says something like, "Are you Ava's Mom?  My son/daughter talks about her or loves to play with her every week at Church."  I think I get so used to doing everything for them and making all of their decisions, that I forget sometimes that they are their own person.  It makes me smile to think she has little friends I don't know about or to see her look forward to seeing her "people" every week.  All part of growing up I suppose, but sweet nonetheless! 
One of the things that has been very fun for Ava this year, is her little Puggles class on Wednesday nights at Church.  This picture is from the last night of her class, which was the day after her birthday and the night of their little party.  I can't believe how much she loved her class and all that she retained from it.  It's an Awana program, the precursor to Cubbies :) They learned all kinds of truths about the Lord, said the Pledge of Allegience every week and did lots of playing.  She LOVED it, it was definitely the highlight of her social calendar!  She had great teachers, but mostly, I think she really loved being with her friends.  We got this sweet picture in the mail this week and as soon as she saw it, her eyes lit up.  She will miss Puggles next year, but I think she'll be in Cubbies in the Fall?? Not sure what age that begins, but I have 4 months to figure it out!
This is a picture of a picture, so it's a little blurry here, but I love it anyway!  These are her sweet Puggles friends.  We miss them on Wednesday nights already. 
Tonight we got to see lots of our friends at a fun event we do every year.  We have so many people who volunteer to serve in our Childrens and Student Ministries and once a year, we rent out an indoor waterpark and treat our volunteers and their families to a night of swimming.  It's totally fun and a great way to have a family night with lots of Church friends, so of course we knew Ava and Carter would love it!  Plus, they have an amazing kids area, so it's a great spot for little people to run and play. 
I expected Carter to be a wild man and Ava more tentative, but I was totally wrong!  Carter was scared of the water for the first 30 minutes, I think he was overwhelmed by the hundreds of people, but slowly we got him to warm up. 
Pretty soon he was trying slides and playing in the water, but he definitely was more reserved than  we expected.
Travis was a busy Daddy tonight, doing his best to help Carter have fun, which of course he did. 
This little girl had NO problem having a good time!  She was thrilled to be in the water and we could barely keep our eyes on her.  She didn't have a fearful bone in her body and proved she didn't need us anywhere near her to have fun.  In fact, I tried to play with her and offered to do all kinds of slides with her, but she made it clear that she wanted to play without me :)
 She also loved playing with her little friends, who were there in droves.  These are her best buddies, Callan and Julia.  I love this picture of them!  They are all a few months apart and regular playdate friends.  It doesn't feel like that long ago that they were all born and little babies in the infant nursery together.  Their Mommies are some of my dearest friends.
Carter quickly joined in all the action, especially when he saw his little friend Clara!
 Gotta love ruffles on little girls!  Aren't they cute???
Clara and Carter are 4 days apart and her Mommy is also one of my dear friends.  Ava still refers to Clara as "Baby Clara" and thankfully, Clara hasn't taken issue with it yet.  I'm trying to break her of it before she's offended :) 
 After all of our excitement tonight and time with lots and lots of friends, we took these two little friends home with us. 
 It's fun to watch Ava and Carter develop their own friendships, but it's also sweet to see them really enjoy each other.  Believe me, there is fighting and plenty of issues with sharing between them, but more and more I catch them sitting together and playing.  And usually when one of them is still sleeping, the other can't wait for any sign of noise so they can play again. 
Carty was beside himself tired tonight, I have high hopes for some sleeping in tomorrow morning!
And the same could be said for Ava, I think we achieved her social needs tonight, so I'm hoping she rewards us with a late morning!  Lucky for her though, she's got two days in a row of playtime with friends this week!  These are the days I'm trying not to wish away.  Someday school will be in the way of late mornings and playdates, but for now we are happy to schedule them and enjoy this simple season of life. 

I hope you have a blessed Monday and a great week!  May it be filled with late mornings and playdates with friends.  Do we ever grow too old for that, really???

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