Thursday, September 7, 2017

New School Year & New Adventures!

 I know it's past Labor Day. And I realize that we've been in school for a good three weeks now. But we're still in back-to-school mode in the Conkling house.

Mackie and daddy kicked off the school year with their first day of school on Aug. 17. Mackie is a 2nd grader in Mrs. Burkhart's class and wants to be a lifeguard and doctor when she grows up.

Jack, meanwhile, starts his 13th year teaching social studies at Prairie Hills Middle School.

Perhaps the biggest back-to-school news, though, is this young handsome dude started kindergarten a week later, on Aug. 22. Mama didn't know how to wrap her heart and head around the fact that the babe of the family was finally off to school with big sis. He was SO excited (as his smile shows!). 

Brax is a kindergartner in Ms. Richardson's class. He wants to be a cowboy and ninja when he grows up. 

After blubbering like a hot mess the first week of Mackie's kindergarten year, I went in praying and knowing that while it would be hard to see little dude go off, it was exciting and fun for him. I held it together our entire walk there and as soon as we hit the gym for drop-off, the lump in my throat grew bigger and bigger. My lips trembled. And then, when the little dude looked back at me one more time and told me "you can go now, mama - I'm ok," tears rolled down the cheeks. 

It really hit me on the lonely, quiet walk home. (as seen here)

I gave myself the day to cry and be weepy (my co-workers didn't know what hit me!), and then we celebrated with Bogey's after school. :)

Here's to a great school year! Praying our kidlets are lights for Jesus and they honor, obey, and respect their teachers and educators this year. God Bless our educators for loving on our precious kiddos!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sunflower Fields Forever

Okay, so it's not quite how the song goes.

But nothing screams Kansans than taking family pics in a nearby sunflower field! The oh-so talented and wonderful Katie Thacker with KT Photography wowed us again with our recent family pictures. She had the genius idea of taking mini sessions in a sunflower field. LOVE!

I'm one who loves capturing my little family as often as possible. Too often we're quick to snap pics with our phones, but nothing - I mean, nothing! - beats professional photography and getting prints made. 

Thanks, Katie, for another wonderful session. Always a treat being your clients! 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

From 7 to 8

My sweet Mackenzie Claire,

Tomorrow you turn eight. EIGHT! How is it that 365 days go by oh-so quickly?! Your seventh year of life was splendid, spectacular, and oh-so sweet. 

You thrived in first grade and took on a love of reading and chapter books. 

You enjoyed your first year of league basketball and learned what it took to compete and play hard. You did the same on your coach pitch softball team, swim team, and your running/triathlon events that you enjoyed participating in all year. 

You lost more teeth and gained a few permanent ones. 

You started playing piano. 

You had the courage to sing a small solo and hold a speaking part at various performances. 

There were so many experiences - new and old - that you enjoyed this past year. 

We now celebrate and look ahead to you, our beautiful baby girl turning 8. I pray that this year you grow more in love with Jesus - that your curiosity flows as you dig into His Word. I pray that you continue to grow in kindness, in grace, in love as your light shines so brightly.

Mackie Claire, I'm honored to be your mama. What a cherished gift God gave me 8 years ago when you entered this world on your due date - Aug. 13 at 10:02 a.m. - all 7 pounds, 13 ounces, and 20 1/2" of you. And now I look at this gorgeous, gap-toothed, gangly girl who loves hard, plays hard, sleeps hard, and lives hard. You are a JOY, my precious daughter.

Love you, love you, love you. Happy Birthday, sweet pea! 


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Goodbye, July!

I wrote a month ago about how quickly June flew by. And here I am - it's August 5th, mind you - and I have yet to wrap my head around July being over!

#ConklingSummer2017 is coming to a halt in a matter of two weeks! Like June, we had a busy and fun July, filled with a mixture of family and kidlet adventures. I'm happy to report that we have crossed off all but three items on our summer bucket list!

We kicked off July by wrapping up coach pitch softball. Coach daddy and Mackie's Team Purple Lightning placed 2nd in their end of the season tournament. It was such a fun season, filled with a lot of growth, learning, and friendships made. Success!

We attended the wedding of our sweet flower girl/kidlet babysitter extraordinaire, Kaylee. (still trying to figure out how we're old enough to have the sweet flower girl getting married!)

We celebrated July 4th with a bang. And by bang, I mean donuts, walking/riding in the July 4th Patriot's Parade in Downtown Hutchinson, blowing a few things up, and then both kidlets going to bed sick with fevers. (we know how to celebrate!)

Both kidlets and I ran in our family-favorite race, the Titan 10K at Wichita South High School. Mackie and Brax each placed in their age divisions for the 1-mile race, and I placed in the 10K in my age division.

T-Ball ended with a special end-of-the-season "tournament" game, which means our t-ball days in the Conkling house are officially over. Moving on to machine pitch next year!

The kidlets fished and were introduced to kayaking, thanks to fellow coaches and family friends who graciously hosted an end-of-the-season party at their house and pond.

Brax reached another milestone and met a goal we set for him before entering kindergarten - learning to tie his shoes!

Mackie swam her little heart out at the final swim meets of the season. She insisted on participating in every single event each meet, often times meaning 8-10 events per meet! 

Both kidlets participated and successfully passed their Red Cross swim lessons this summer at the Splash. Brax graduated from Level 2, and Mackie gradated from Level 4. Love watching their love of the water grow!

We spent Sunday afternoons biking and swimming and even went for a family ride to Sonic for slushes. 

And perhaps our biggest event of July - other than our vacation (another post!) - was surprising the kidlets with a quick overnight trip to Kansas City. We wanted them to enjoy the Royals one more time this summer before school starts (and let's face it, before some of our beloved players are traded at the end of the season). We hit a grand slam with this surprise - even with the 110-degree feel-like temps! - as the Royals won BIG, we saw all of our favorite players play, we jumped on hotel beds, and enjoyed our fave KC breakfast joint the next morning before heading home. 

A post on our Branson vacation is coming!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Where Did June Go?!

Here we are, already at July 8th. JULY 8th! We're about five weeks out from school starting up again and summer is half-way over.

My lack of blogging means we Conklings have thoroughly enjoyed our June. It was jam packed full - I'm not sure many days that went by where we weren't off to do something!

Some of our highlights:

  • Birthday shenanigans and turning the big 34.

  • Celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary and my birthday in Kansas City with Royals baseball and Hospital Hill 5K/10K re-run events. Even better? Enjoying a kid-free weekend with our dear friends, the Gills. What a GREAT idea for a double-date! 

  • T-Ball, Softball, and more t-ball and softball...oh my! Daddy coached both t-ball and coach pitch softball teams, which meant our Monday/Wednesday/Thursday nights were busy in June!

  • Pool time galore! We've enjoyed our fair share of time in the Preston pool - both as a family and with friends. 

  • Outdoor Adventure Camp at Dillon Nature Center. Mackie enjoyed another year of Adventure Camp and was awarded the "Excellent Camper" and "Turtle Catcher" awards. She fished every day and loved it! Canoeing and archery? Not as much.

  • Vacation Bible School at Grace Bible Church. Our first week of June, things turned a bit chilly at GBC for Operation:Arctic VBS! 

  • Celebrated daddy on Father's Day. The kidlets couldn't wait to spend their piggybank money on root beer floats for dad, while mama made his dinner request: chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes. What a fun day spoiling daddy!

  • Movies at the theaters. My mom and I took the kidlets to see "Beauty and the Beast" at the Fox Theatre, while Jack took Brax to the Warren Theatre to see "Cars 3" for a special father-son date. 

  •  Bike rides. When mama's in the office, daddy keeps the kidlets entertained with bike rides around the 'hood and one special outing - to the Kansas State Fairgrounds, where they biked around the grounds and took a small break on the train. 

  • Family Races. We ended the month with a family-favorite, the Firecracker. Mama ran the 8K while daddy helped Mackie finish her first officially-timed 5K race. She won her age group...and then celebrated by participating in a swim meet with her Hutch Rec rec swim team. What a trooper! (And I wish I had that non-stop energy!). 

We've made a good start on our #ConklingSummer2017 bucket list, but there are plenty of items to cross off in July. Here's to finishing out the summer strong and on purpose as a family!