Our Magical Summer

I’ve been wearing oversized sunglasses like a hungover college girl all day to cover my tears because tomorrow is the first day of school. Ruth’s first day of first grade, Lydia’s second year of preschool, and Micah will be stuck with a blubbering mess of a Mom because I just can’t handle these babies growing up.

Since I am feeling so sentimental, I figured I would update our blog with some fun summer memories. And since I am feeling utterly unreasonable, there may or may not be 40 summer pictures on this post. Oops.

We closed on our new house in mid-May and worked around the clock to make it livable. Then May 20, we left for the summer and spent 7 weeks in Orlando on Walt Disney World Summer Mission. This was our second summer as a family leading the mission trip and to say we are crazy about it would be an understatement. This mission is changing the world and the students are amazing every single summer.

So here are some of our favorite summer memories…

IMG_4393When we arrived in Orlando, we headed straight for the Disney Boardwalk! IMG_4411We loved meeting baby Jaden! All of our summer mission memories include Dennis kiddos, and we were honored to meet Sophie and Dasah’s baby brother! IMG_4445The girls and I painted in our journaling Bibles and read Mark this summer and it was such sweet time together learning about our Jesus. IMG_4449Did I mention we had the BEST NANNY EVER?!?! Ali is one of our awesome students at KU and she was an honorary Fieleke for the summer and loved our babies super well. IMG_4475We celebrated eight years of marriage this summer & ate the best steaks of our life. IMG_4518Micah learned how to take mean-muggin to a whole new level! IMG_4541This girl turned SIX! IMG_4548Our Summer Mission students! We love them dearly. IMG_4573We went to Sea World on our days off and had a blast. Our favorite family show is Sea Rescue, so we had studied up big time about EVERY ANIMAL THERE. It was so fun. And so hot. IMG_4608We made a small profit when we sold our house and decided to take some of that money to make a family memory we normally wouldn’t be able to afford to make. Josh and I took the big kids (Micah will have to wait until he is a bit older) to Discovery Cove for one of the best days of our entire lives. Seriously, if you are thinking about going – DO IT!!!!! I can’t say enough amazing things about it. Basically, it is a all inclusive resort run by Sea World with limited daily admission where you can swim with dolphins, snorkel in a huge coral reef, and spend hours floating in lazy rivers with all sorts of animals to see and interact with. IMG_4612Best. Day. Ever. IMG_4616Living our dream of being in wetsuits and pretending we are characters in Dolphin Tale. IMG_4633Ruth & I swam with dolphins! I asked her if she had any questions for the trainers and she looked at me, COMPLETELY SERIOUS, and said, “Mom, I already know everything there is to know about dolphins.” IMG_4646I might have cried. Like shaking happy tears cried. I’m ridiculous. IMG_4657They let Josh and Bitty get in the dolphin pool for a family picture. Bitty says dolphins feel like hot dogs. IMG_3371_2IMG_4668Back to Summer Mission life. We had worship in our room one night and I pinched myself thinking about how my kids have no idea things like this aren’t normal. Moving all the furniture out of the room and packing in 50 students who will follow Jesus anywhere, it is all my littles have ever known. And I am so grateful. IMG_4717Micah loves life. IMG_4766Grammy came for a super fun visit and I don’t think I did a single dish for days. Basically heaven will be like having a full time, live in nanny and a Grammy living with you at all times. IMG_4818IMG_4905A student we worked with three years ago treated us to guest passes for the day at Disney World! It was so fun. IMG_3524_2IMG_3527_2IMG_4981Our dear friends from college came to visit for a weekend with their three sons. We had so much fun talking about all that God has done in our life in the last 8 years since college. And our kids adored each other. IMG_4980IMG_3348_2IMG_5032This was the team of students I got to lead this summer. They were awesome! They planned outreach activities all over Orlando for all their friends to take part in on Saturday mornings. IMG_5062Then there was the day I matched my daughters and I just. couldn’t. handle. the. sweetness.IMG_5099We said goodbye to students and headed for our staff retreat to Animal Kingdom Lodge for 2 days. Our staff team worked their tails off and it was so fun to surprise them with a trip where they could decompress and relax! Plus our kids had the time of their lives. IMG_5091IMG_5104Sweet staff kid friends! IMG_5142No big deal. Just a giraffe in our backyard. IMG_5125IMG_5145IMG_5341After we drove home from Florida, we crashed at home for 10 days and then went to Branson for a quick family reunion with Josh’s family. It was sweet to see family and have cousin time all together. IMG_5350IMG_5498Now we are home and school is starting tomorrow and I am going to eat too much chocolate cake and binge watch Friday Night Lights. Thanks for looking through all of our pictures and praying for our summer. So many college interns at Disney came to know Jesus and we are so thankful for the part he let us play!

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