Emma and Eli: July 2018

We started July with the second half of our family vacation to Jamaica.  Now that we are in the first week of school, I’m definitely missing those slow days with my crew…but grateful for the time we had and the seasons of life we enjoy!  My favorite parts of Jamaica were definitely the morning walks on the beach with Eli, watching Clint enjoy more opportunities to SCUBA dive, seeing Emma continue to grow in her confidence, and just being together all day for several days.  This was also my first time to celebrate the Fourth of July outside of the United States.  However, the resort we were at had lots of Americans, so the Riu staff put together a really nice celebration of the red, white, and blue!  We normally have hot dogs on the Fourth at home…but we had lobster this year.  Might be the start of a new tradition!
Once we got back to Acworth, it was Thursday before I returned to work on Monday.  That Saturday morning we got up early to enjoy the unseasonably cool weather.  We went to a new bakery in town for breakfast called Honeysuckle and Biscuits Bakery.  It was fun to try a new place!  From there we hiked up Kennesaw Mountain and enjoyed the beautiful views.  We spent the afternoon just wondering around and it was so nice to be home!
We’ve been trying to help Eli learn to tie his shoes but he just hasn’t been interested. We offered to pay Emma $20 if she successfully taught him how to tie his shoes before vacation. I offered her $10 after vacation if she could teach him before the end of the week. Her response, “I’m doing my best teaching…I can’t help that he’s floundering.” ? Is there a message for educators in that?
#StudentsHaveToBeInspired So…my grand plan was then put into motion. Eli’s favorite color is red. I took him to the store and let him pick out his favorite pair of red tennis shoes. The caveat was that he couldn’t wear them until he could tie them himself. He’s was hard at work in the living room for almost 30 minutes. Then…he proudly tied his shoes and was read to walk out the door.  I LOVE watching him figure stuff out!
Emma and I had a triathlon in mid-July that took us to Mistletoe State Park.  We have really enjoyed working at these triathlons and making some really fun new friends!  While we were gone, Clint and Eli headed up to Summerville to help Clint’s aunt with a community vacation bible school that she was hosting.  Aunt Patty had asked Clint to come and talk about missions.  He did such a great job at VBS, that the pastor asked him to come and speak in the church the next morning.  Emma and I drove up and surprised them Sunday morning…Clint did a GREAT job!
That week was my last Friday off before school started.  So…on that Thursday afternoon, we hopped in the car to drive to Memphis for the weekend.  We had a great time staying with my mom and visiting with her and my sister and her family.  Living so far away makes it hard to get to spend time together, but when we do…it’s always so fun!  We visited lots of our favorite Memphis places (University of Memphis, Gibson’s Donuts, Memphis Pizza Cafe, One and Only BBQ, Mud Island) and tried Dyer’s Hamburgers for the first time (2 thumbs up!) and enjoyed lots of pool time at my sister’s.  My sister’s kids and our kids LOVE getting to spend time together!  It’s crazy that Eli and Nora are both going into kindergarten this year!  We drove home late that Sunday with lots of smiles from having such a great time together!
The last week in July was exciting around here as the Strange family got a fish.  Well..the original plan was one fish in a bowl…old-school style.  Leave it to Clint to make it WAY MORE FUN!  That’s what he is known for…making things extra special.  When I came home, I was introduced to our FIVE new fish (Emma’s 3-Maddison, Mackenzie, and Kathryn and Eli’s 2-Corvette and Uncle Billy) in a beautiful aquarium with all kinds of things going on.  The kids have had lots of fun watching the fish!  We had our Upper School cookout that Wednesday night officially kicking off the school year.  We had a great time visiting with families and getting excited about the year ahead.  Emma and I closed out the week with another triathlon…this one at Richard B. Russell State Park in Elberton.  
July was LOTS of fun…a great way to wrap up the summer before turning our attention to a WONDERFUL school year!  Clint and I are SO GRATEFUL for the opportunity to spend lots of intentional time with Emma and Eli.  They are growing up so much and are lots of fun to hang out with!

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