First Grade!

I am breaking the chronological succession of my summer posts to catch up to what's happening in our world right now! School is officially back in swing and after a weeks in, we are finally feeling like we have mostly adjusted to having a schedule again. Miss Ava Page is a big first grader this year! 
We are grateful to the Lord for another sweet teacher that He has blessed our family with. We have enjoyed her so much and Ava is really loving being in her class. That is a big answer to my prayers specifically. I continue to see how the Lord provides for us in big ways and in small ways and the teachers he has given us for the last two years are a reflection of that. We went to Back to School Night in August and met her teacher for the first time. We knew nothing about her before the year began, but we ran into Ava's para from Kindergarten at Target, just hours before the school open house, and she raved and raved about what a great teacher she is and how she requested her for her own daughters when they were in First grade!  How sweet for Ava to hear that and for my heart to be encouraged by that too.  I know the Lord gave us that encounter for a reason! 
I took the kids with me and of course Carter wanted to be right by Ava's side.  This is her first year to have her very own desk! Ha ha! It was big news   :) 
We got to bring in all of her supplies and get her desk all ready. By the time this hour was over, I was sweating bullets trying to manage all three of them and Walker had eaten three suckers just to keep him occupied and quiet! It was quite the circus scene. 
Someday I will look back on these days and laugh, right??  
Here she is last year, after the Kindergarten Open House...
And here she is this year! I do believe she looks older, don't you??
The night before school started, we took a family walk to the school so that we could pray together. We did this last year and it was so important to me that we did it again. We prayed for Ava, for her teacher, for her classroom, for her school and for the Lord to bring her a friend who loves Jesus too. I love doing it because we want the kids to know that we intend to be a light for Jesus everywhere we go, but it's also sweet for us to pray over each other. Hearing Carter pray last year for Ava nearly had me sobbing and this year, I nearly had to beg him to do it! ha ha! In the spirit of keeping it real, we always go with great intentions and sometimes it's a sweet experience and other times we do it just because we know it honors the Lord, even if we have to stop and threaten certain children to stop complaining! 
We were greeted by a fun surprise, all of the teachers had drawn pictures and written messages to welcome the kids back the next day! 
That was special for Ava to see and helped calm some of her butterflies.
Hard to believe that next year, we'll be dropping two of these kiddos off! 
Ava's sweet teacher had sent this fun "ready confetti" home with us at the Open House and Ava could not wait to use it! I knew I was going to love her teacher when I discovered she is crafty and creative  :) We sprinkled this confetti under her pillow that night and sure enough, she popped out of bed the next morning and told us that she slept so great! The ready confetti gave her really sweet dreams! ha ha! 
Ready or not, the backpack and lunch bag were packed and organized the night before. I think this was as much an adjustment for me as it was for the kids. I loved the summer schedule and not having to plan for the next day! It was kind of a brutal wake-up call to get my act together  :) 
First Grade, here she comes! 
Of course I can't resist a little flashback, here is her peanut self a year ago on the first day!
This year it was Anna and Elsa for the backpack choice
Last year it was Sophia

Walker is cracking us up because he starting to catch on to the picture drill in front of the door! 
He knew something exciting was happening! 
Daddy's girl
And Mommy's girl
We walked together on the first day, last year...
... and we did it again this year! I think we can also safely say that Travis prefers to wear orange when the kids go back to school! 
The mascot greeted us while we waited for the doors to open. Thankfully Walker didn't cry at the sight on him!
And much like last year, sweet Carter just had a hard time saying goodbye! He followed Ava in her room, gave her about three big hugs and kisses, followed by several rounds of "Are you Ok Ava?" and "I'm going to miss you today." It was totally precious and as we left, many tears were shed from his big eyes. Thankfully Ava was only excited and she didn't cry at all!
This was our hilarious picture of the three amigos last year! Carter was not happy, Walker had to be woken up and Ava was thrilled!
Everybody got bigger this year and so did their little sibling bond. 
I love this pic I snapped on my phone because I love the way Walkie is holding on to both of them! He definitely didn't understand what was happening like Carter did, but I can tell you several weeks later, he doesn't like to see them leave in the morning. He has since cried many times too, now that his playmates are gone for hours of the day. I just can't imagine when it will be his turn to go! He will have witnessed this scene many, many times over. Wonder if he'll even need me to go with him??  He'll probably be a pro by then! 

Ava has adjusted very well to her new class and her new routine. She loves being at school and is very chatty when she gets home about what she did all day. We had some tears this morning over our first lost library book (seriously, I have spent more time looking for that dumb thing and we still can't find it!) and whether or not she was going to have to talk to the principal because of it!?!? Sweet girl! I assured her it was important that we find it but not worthy of visiting the principal  :)  I am thankful she is making friends with some new faces in her class and still connecting with faces from last year. We are learning she is very opinionated (still) about what she wants to wear and how she wants to wear her hair, that was another meltdown morning about a week ago! She is all girl and feels these things pretty deeply, so you can imagine the tension she and I already have sometimes. I am doing some coaching to myself about picking battles and letting lots of them go.  I love to see her independence and her confidence and I am glad she is speaking up for herself more and more. But for crying out loud, is insisting that we brush her hair everyday an unbearable burden!?!?!  Ha ha! Oh the refinement that comes from the school years, and no, I'm not referring to Ava's refinement but rather, mine.  Suddenly I feel for my own poor Mom and the drama of having three girls to get ready for school every day! The tension, arguments and fights that erupted over shoes, clothes, and being late should have been enough to make my Mom nuts! But she survived it and I imagine I will too. I'm thankful that at least I have two boys who will likely not stress about their hair  :) 
We truly are off to a great start this year and our first fundraiser packet even came home this week, oh boy! Travis and I are grateful for the blessing of a neighborhood school and love to see Ava doing so well there.  We thank the Lord for these last few weeks! 

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