Simple Summer

Hello again blog land! It's been awhile since we've met here and while I'm sure you haven't missed me, I have indeed missed sharing life in pictures with you!  I have been itching to catch up for months now but as life has dictated, there have been better choices for me to consider...things like groceries to buy, clothes to wash, children to raise and husbands to please.  Good things, just not blog tending things :) So the record of the Armstrongs has taken a necessary backseat and I'm stumbling all over my words as I try to find my groove again, but I'm so thankful for a window of time over this Christmas break to look backwards and fill in the holes from the last few months! I'm starting with some sweet memories from our simple summer of sorts.  We didn't have any big trips this summer, just lots of ministry stuff and time together. 
Nothing fancy but lots of fun! 
With every month that passed, this little guy became more and more park adept. He loved keeping up with Ava and Carter and enjoying the sunshine! We are grateful for tons of local parks and several we can easily walk to. I spent many hours park-side with my trio this summer and now that I'm staring at 10 inches of snow, I miss it already! Also on a totally unrelated note, I adore those big eyes!

Ava was our fearless ring leader, with Kindergarten behind her she imparted all kinds of playground wisdom on her younger brothers. She introduced us to new games she and her friends liked to play and she demonstrated her mastery of the monkey bars everywhere we went. She particularly loved when we played at her school playground! Something about "home field advantage" I think  :) 
Carter spent the summer trying to master the monkey bars like his big sister, and while he certainly had the determination to master them he still lacked about a 1/2 inch of height. But it didn't stop him from trying at every park we visited! Carter's favorite game this summer was to play "scary monster."  Travis and I were deemed the "scary monster" and adamantly instructed to chase them until there was screaming. Which was always inevitable! 
Even when we weren't at a park this summer, our house was still a jungle gym for these three!
And thankfully for us, it didn't take much for them to be entertained! 
For example, this toothy grin is due to the riveting post dinner revue of their father...
...who was blowing a plastic ball in the air and might as well have been juggling rings of fire! 
Everybody loved it! 
At some point we decided to help Walker in the slide department by bringing the little tikes slide in and trying to help him learn how to sit...but there is no "sitting safely" in Walker's repertoire and so he chose to just dive head first off the couch instead! 
Thankfully his brother and sister thought to pad the floor with pillows and blankets. 
See Walker, they do love you! 
We made great use of our porch this summer, it was essentially an outdoor playroom and this was often the scene...all three huddled up around each other, playing. 
Walker was often a wrecking crew in the situation but he couldn't stand to be away from his siblings if he had anything to say about it! 
Eventually he got the hang of the slide...
And he made me less and less nervous as the summer began winding down!
These two cuties spent the month of August swimming twice a week. 
We wanted them to spend some focused time getting their swimming strokes down and they did so well!
Thankfully they loved it! I never had to convince them to go, each lesson was super fun and they jumped right in. 
I wanted to remember this summer as the summer that Ava's freckles really started to show! She is fair like her Mama and the summer sun kissed her sweet cheeks and nose with the darling evidence of her coloring. She's so cute. I love those angel kisses! 
This was also the summer that Carter officially lost his "preschool" look and began looking more and like a big kid. Bruised knees, scrapes and cuts, and hair that got blonder by the second.  I love him. 
This pic is a bit deceiving, they are the best of friends and sometimes the worst of enemies. They do get along most of the time but this was the summer of fighting. Which was lots of fun for all of us! We worked a lot on being more kind and considerate, offering forgiveness generously, and asking for it first. I'm not sure how deep the tracks we made, but this is the work of this season. Reminding them again and again of how we treat one another in this family and helping them learn to think of others before themselves. The same hard work of their Mom and Dad's daily sanctification! It's not easy and it makes for long, exhausting days but I do know how important it is and we trust it will help and pay off in the future. If not for them, at least for us! Ha ha! This might also be called the summer that Stephanie was forced to learn patience while failing miserably. 
We began braving the restaurant scene a little more liberally this summer as Walker expanded his palate. When not yelling or throwing food to get laughs, he was a delight! 
Before the summer ended, my parents came up for a little visit. 
We spent the night enjoying a perfect summer sunset on the lake.
It was a gorgeous summer night with tons of boats coming in and out of the docks and the best kind of people watching!  Especially these three people. 

I love my little family! 
I also love this pic of my parents and the kids. 
We had such a lovely night, Minnesota lakes in the summer are hard to beat!
We celebrated our 12th anniversary together on August 1st! So thankful for what God has done in and through us over these years. Marriage has only grown sweeter and sometimes harder, but truly better with each year between us. The Lord has blessed us so greatly. 
I just couldn't help but include these...
I love Minnesota. 
This little boy finally got a well overdue haircut in August! After looking a little too much like Grandpa Munster, we went in for the official cut. 
And there was a lot to cut!
Instantly he was older and somehow even cuter.
Love these freshly groomed brothers!
Just days before school started we wrapped up swimming lessons. 
Smiles all around

And graduations for both, from one level to the next.
So glad we worked swimming in this summer! It was a highlight for Ava and Carter. 
One of the best things we did this summer was to let Ava and Carter stretch their creativity and imaginations due to a little brother who needed to be home for naps. We broke out the blocks and the duplos and these two went nuts building constantly and all over the house. 
So darling and a good reminder of the value of simple fun. 
They also made great use of a big cardboard box we brought home when Walker upgraded to a new carseat! I loved the custom artwork they added. 
That house provided hours and hours of fun for all three of them until November when the temps plummeted. Cheap thrills! 
I was more than ready for school and preschool to start in August and September, but it really was my privilege to enjoy a summer with these yahoos! 
We squeezed lots of playtime in everyday and made the best of summer where we were homebound with a twice-a-day napper. I know enough of motherhood now to know that these seasons are so short and each year brings new challenges and lots of change so I'm grateful the Lord gave us lots of grace to endure and even enjoy this time with one another. 
It was pretty easy to find joy in every day! 
Just as the final three-story home was built, it was time for summer to end and Fall to begin!
I sure enjoyed keeping up with these two all summer, they are growing up so fast. I can't believe the school years are upon us now and summer no longer bleeds into September, only ending when we decide to buy pumpkins. It's crazy how fast this parenthood thing goes! 
We ended the summer with a family walk to Ava's school the night before classes began and we prayed outside the building for another year of loving people with the love of Jesus. A great memory and a fitting ending to our summer! 

No comments: