I'll have to make a note in my Daytimer that the first couple of weeks of June are always much busier than I anticipate. Between preparing for finals, end of school, and college students seeking to say good-bye, the days tend to fill up.
It was a huge joy to see Whitley again early Monday morning. She was standing in her driveway waiting for us to pull up, and as soon as I got out, she yelled, "Stephie" and came running to me with a hug. Sigh.....oh the joy! I got lots of extra hugs throughout the day as she'd lay her head against me and in her words, "Hugga, hugga, hugga!".
We did our morning stroller walk and then ended up at one of the most popular parks on this side of town, "Oakmont Park". It didn't have her favorite "swings" but plenty of play and climb structures to play chase with other kids (it's always busy) and then there was the water to be played with. Note to self, next time we hit this park, bring an extra change of clothes. =)
On Monday night, I texted Christi to see if she'd like to join me for a more scenic walk. It's actually on the road where Heather was living before she moved to Boston. Great find for a walk...it took us down to the river at Armitage Park.
We started and returned at Crescent Park. I made sure to park at such an angle that Whitley couldn't see the park before we left - or we'd never be able to leave without some sadness on her part. I'm really trying to instill the idea that if she's able to be content with 45-60 minutes of a walk, there will end up being a reward of either park play or trampoline play. So far so good in terms of making us both happy.
We ended up staying at the park (after the walk) for probably 90 minutes. Christi hung around for the first half hour or so. This little girl was loving the swing... It's so sweet that Whitley now knows her by name and lights up when she finds out we'll be hanging out with "Baby Elsie" on any given day.
She looks like she fell asleep like this - I actually just caught a pic with her eyes closed. But, she was comfy enough...
Doesn't Whitley look SO BIG now? She is definitely on the very tall end of the percentile range - often taller than other two year olds we meet at the park, and she won't be two until mid-August.
Later that day, Alesha and Ashley came over to join us. We had lunch together, and when Whitley wasn't willing to fall asleep with Brayden's assistance (as if I really thought THAT would work!?!) - she came out and joined us for some bubble play on the patio.
Ashley's heading to Europe later this month, and Alesha's heading to Argentina, so we had plenty to talk about. I also got some inside scoop on a potential "guy interest" - which always makes for fun conversation fodder!!!
Oh Wednesday, the day I'd been praying to arrive for SOOOOOOO long - Brayden's last day of school! We celebrated with Jamba Juice afterwards. Now that the dust has settled from finals and semester grades are up, we can say he did "Okay" in his freshman year. There's a lot of room for improvement, though, and we've been encouraged by some strategies set forth through the school and even specifically by Steph's brother-in-law, Rick, who is Marist's vice-principal. That gives us a lot of hope come fall, but I'm ready to set the whole subject aside for now and just enjoy the summer!!!
On Thursday, I got to go for a walk with Danielle. After our walk along the river, we ended up at this park. It was so cute how Whitley reached for Danielle out of the stroller saying, "Hand, hand" and then led her to the swing. She had done the same thing with Ashley in regards to the trampoline earlier in the week. It's such a blessing to see these young adults in our life that we are trying to pour into now pouring in to Whitley as well....
Thursday night had us meeting at Red Robin for our last official "Thursday Night Life Group". We'll be hanging out for social occasions in the future (one date, at least, is already set on the calendar), but no longer as a "Bible Study".
I love all these ladies with all my heart, but acknowledge (and was even affirmed with the end of our study book by Jen Hatmaker) that it's time for our group to expand our ministries outward. We've set such a foundation of trust and relationship with each other that we'll be able to tap in to each other for encouragement and get back together again periodically ready to laugh and cry together.
I'm still wondering what that "expanded ministry" will look like for me, but I'm thankful this seems to be exactly what God has asked us to do now.