Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day of School

Our boy is growing up! Today, Carter started his first day of preschool and loved it. He is attending Circle of Friends and is in the gumdrop room. There are seven other students in his class, including his friend Gracie (it was nice to know someone on the first day, he told me) Carter was very enthusiastic to start school and we've done a pretty good job of hyping it for awhile now. He walked right in, sat right down at the table, started playing with the play dough that Miss Laura had set out, blew me a kiss and that was that. No tears, no long hugs or clingy hands. He was definitely ready to take this big step into many years of learning. It was slightly bittersweet for me as I walked back to my car. It felt great to know that he was comfortable in this new place but it pulled at my heart strings to drop him off and leave his care in the hands of others. My hopes for him this year will be to make new friends, have lots of fun, learn to love school, improve his ability to follow directions and develop respect for others. I really can't wait to hear what he does in class tomorrow!

He was all about having his picture taken at home before we left for school. (His shirt isn't stained, but he washed his hands right before we left and got himself all wet!)
Seriously. So excited!

Ready for a fun day

Going in...

Diving in...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Annual Eagle Crest Trip

We spent a lovely, relaxing five days in Central Oregon with Kyle's family this past week. It's an annual trip planned by Kyle's parents and each year seems to be more and more fun. I think it has to do with the kids getting older - Carter had such a blast and seeing him enjoy himself and try new things with excitement makes the vacation even better for me. Kyle was able to play some golf, I got to enjoy some quiet time in the sun and we all enjoyed the outdoor fun to the fullest...swimming, hiking, biking, golfing and playing! It was so great to have extra sets of hands to help out and Carter especially loved having play time with Auntie Val and even got to sleep at the "big lodge" with Grandma and Papa one night. Oh, and did I mention the many powdered donuts that he devoured? Really, what's not to love about vacation! We are so thankful for these fun, family vacations and I know we're creating memories to last a lifetime. Here are a handful of pictures from our trip:

Enjoying the warm and sunny weather - playing track ball with Auntie Val and Mark.
Carter is a super fearful swimmer but he improved SO much during this trip. Val was a wonderful teacher and by the end of our trip, he was jumping to us, kicking and paddling, blowing bubbles and generally enjoying his time in the pool. It was GREAT!

Kennedy has no fear and loves the water too. She wanted to do everything that big brother was doing, and I'm sure she would have jumped right in if we would have let her. I can't wait to see how she'll be next year.

Hiking with Carter is kind of a challenge. He still isn't big enough to go very fast or very far. He spent the majority of our hike on Dad's shoulders.

It felt wonderful to get out and get some exercise. I figured I must have burned a few more calories hauling Kennedy on my back. Isn't the view magnificent?!?

All tuckered out after one of our morning hikes.

The whole family enjoyed some time on the putting green and chipping area. Carter loves golf and felt so cool to be golfing on the real course. He was quite sad to miss out on golfing with Daddy and Papa...hopefully soon!

Look at that form - he's really quite good and when he connects, he can really get some distance on the ball. It's impressive, especially since I have trouble hitting more than a few yards!

We saw deer each day and this doe came right up to our deck. I think they're so used to being around people that they come quite close. I'm sure she was looking for a tasty hand-out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Goodbyes and hard questions

It was a sad day on Monday as Kyle's Papa passed away. We were fortunate enough to be able to spend the weekend in Hillsboro, holding his hand and saying goodbye. He was one tough cookie who had a very soft spot in his heart for his grandchildren (17) and great grandchildren (15 - Carter and Kennedy were #13 & 14). His love for them was ever apparent.

Meeting Carter for the first time - 4 generations of Phelans

Father's Day 2009

Papa and his two youngest great grandchildren, Bennett and Kennedy, at Easter

Papa and Kennedy, who according to him was the most beautiful baby he'd ever seen. "And I've seen a lot of babies."

I have found it extremely difficult to answer all of Carter's questions regarding Papa's illness and death. I want to be fully honest and am amazed at some of the questions and thoughts he has regarding this topic. I want to capture them here just to highlight how much he loved his great grandfather and also how insightful a three year old can be. Here are some tidbits from our conversations these past few days: "How come God wants Papa to live with him?" "How far away is heaven? And can we go and visit him there?" To which I replied that we couldn't visit but that we'd see him again some day, and he said, "But I'll miss him." "Will Papa have to climb a very tall ladder to get to heaven or can he just take an airplane?" I am trying to take this opportunity to teach Carter about the strength of Jesus Christ and the ever present love of God. Although, as most people know, faith is hard for many adults to wrap their minds around so trying to explain it to a toddler is quite the challenge. I am grateful for his curiosity and thankful that his life was blessed for three years with the love of his great-Papa. We love you Papa and we'll miss you!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The boys go camping

Kyle took Carter camping for the first time a few weekends ago (I'm way behind in blogging - we've been so busy this summer!) and they had an absolute blast. This is an annual camping trip with Kyle's family that we've skipped out on for the past three years. Kyle grew up going to Cove Palisades at Lake Billy Chinook and I've enjoyed a few trips myself - it's a great campground and the lake is fabulous. Not only did I think it was important for Kyle to go this year, but I knew that Carter would love it. And love it he did. I wish I could have been there to witness the infinite fist pumps and squeals of delight. From the sounds of it, Carter was the free entertainment for the weekend and kept everyone laughing. He can be such a joy and his enthusiasm and excitement are contagious. He was very proud to report back to me on Sunday that he made it through the entire camping trip without a time out. Way to go, little man! He slept well, ate lots of junk and participated in all the quintessential camping rituals. What a special trip for him and Daddy. I begged Kyle to snap lots of pictures and he didn't disappoint, thank you honey. Here are some of my faves:
Pitching the tent with Daddy. I'm sure camp set-up took a little longer with a "helper."

Normal bedtime routine - books and milk before lights out. He had a great time with his flashlights and head lamp once he went to bed. I guess it provided a nice light show for the adults!

Enjoying the cool morning by the fire. Carter loved sharing Papa's donuts and Auntie Val's root beer - what special treats!

Boating time

Not too keen on getting in the lake, but he enjoyed going for a spin.

Crazy hats - another tradition.

Helping Papa start a fire

Roasting his first marshmallow for s'mores!