Tag Archives: kids

JUST ONE WEEK… only 7 more days… (YIPPEE)

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Summer break is nearly over. 

Did you survive?

Did you thrive?

For our family it is a toss-up!  We had some fun travels, spent a month rotating the flu (which I never succumbed to… another sign that God designed mothers very well) and we had a whole lot of busyness.  Sure, we had sweet moments of playing together (and not fighting), swimming and seeing sights.

But now we are a week from school starting and we are at a fevered-pitch of burnout of all this togetherness, 3 kids (and a mom) full of nerves for a new year to begin and too much togetherness (YES – I mentioned that twice).  I know that this sounds like I am being way too personal or real, but I am just calling a spade a spade.  We are READY!  Well, we are READY or NOT to get this year moving along.

It has become so crazy at times that I can’t even spend 2 minutes alone without crimes against The Geneva Conventions being committed.  (That works for kids too, right?)  The injustice occurs when I am barely out of sight.  Then they have to follow protocol and report the crime against all humanity and especially themselves IMMEDIATELY.  No matter where we are from one another I hear my name called with a shrill and sometimes the overwhelming/choking/gagging tears.  This call sometimes happens when I am in sight.  But usually it is when I am in the bathroom.  (YES – I said it)  Then they proceed to talk to me through the door.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me lose it!!  The sounds of uncontrollable crying of one to three children, the yelling of enough circumstantial evidence that they could conduct an on-the-spot trial and I can’t forget the gnashing of teeth towards one another can make a mom go crazy.  And all I have to protect me is  a one-inch hollow door and a flimsy door knob lock.  It is enough to make my insides boil.  After a summer of requesting 2 minutes alone until I can come out and process the crime with my full attention, I have come up with a new policy in our home and I have posted it for all in the land to see.

 

If there is no...FIRE, or BLOOD loss, or ALIEN INVASION... IT CAN WAIT UNTIL  YOUR MOM IS OUT OF THE BATHROOM!!

If there is no…FIRE,
or BLOOD loss, or
ALIEN INVASION…
IT CAN WAIT UNTIL
YOUR MOM IS OUT
OF THE BATHROOM!!

It has been up one week and it is definitely helping.  I am praying it will continue to lessen as school is in session and our time for togetherness is a little less.  This is what it has come down to in our home.  How about you??

Please tell me what you think or if you have any ideas for 3 children to allow for 2 minutes of privacy I am all ears!

Feel free to print our your own copy for your bathroom door(s).  Yes – you see a plural on that… I have two posted and both help!

If you can relate and feel others can too as we head into this last stretch to school, please share this along.

We all deserve a good laugh and for some reasons as moms we want others to understand us, but we have a real hard time being the real us to others.  This is me today with one week to go.  And yes, 2.5 months ago at the beginning of summer I wrote a sweet piece about not wanting summer to go too quickly.  I still feel that way… but again summer break has proven that all good things come to an end… AND WE ARE READY!

We are in this together – – let’s claim back our 2 minutes!!

Praying for your 2 minutes and mine without ceasing!

Kristin

The PROUD mom of a 5th grader, 2nd grader and 4 year old preschooler

amazing grace…

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I usually don’t get interrupted during the singing part of bedtime.  It seems to be my kids favorite part.  After we pray for everyone in our family, including pets by name and a list of emergency responders, plus Kaylee added years ago anyone who needed a hug and a kiss, I sing.  For ten years, I have sung each child “their” song two times through.  I have sung Amazing Grace to Kaylee almost every night of her life and even on nights when Daddy put her to bed.  It is her song and I picked it to be her song, because it was her Grandma Ruby’s favorite.  When Ruby passed away ten years ago this November, we found countless versions on CD’s and cassettes and even played two different versions at her funeral. When Kaylee was just a little newborn, I mourned that she wouldn’t know the adoration and affection of her Grandma Ruby.  I wanted her to have a connection even if it was only a song.

Two nights ago at bedtime, my sweet eight-year old daughter stopped me during our nightly singing ritual.  She had reached out and touched my arm as I sang to her.  She said, “Momma, I sure hope that Chad is found, since he is lost.”  My throat closed up, my heart raced and my tears welled up instantly.  She made such a deep connection while I was singing “her song”… Amazing Grace.  Earlier that day, I had shared with her some high-level details about how our community was gathering to find a lost runner.  Our conversation had ended with little discussion, but she had continued to process being lost.

When she heard the line, “I once was lost, but now I am found,” it struck like a gong and impacted her heart greatly.  She showed me how she understands our connection with those in our family and in God’s greater family.  Her tenderness as she asked to pray with me that God would be with Chad until he was found was pure love.  I have witnessed pure love, self-sacrifice and unrelenting spirit this week.  I have been so impressed by the many Spirit-led posts and offerings on the Bring Chad Rogers Home Facebook the past five days.  I think our town of 29,000 (and something) realized how blessed and gifted we are collectively when the Holy Spirit leads us to one another.  No one wanted this ending for the search.  We hoped and prayed for happy news.  Some will question why God would do this, but instead of question I hope they seek stillness and prayer.  To search for their own Amazing Grace with God.

Like Chad Rogers, Ruby left us much too soon with a hole in our family.   And not a day goes by that her name isn’t spoken from my lips with my children.  She would have continued to go bananas for the 4 grandsons she had before she passed and she would have gone ape-wild for her one granddaughter and five more grandsons.  Even with the hole, I find that I can keep her alive to my children.  I mention how she would call Ian “Butch” as  baby or how Rhett and Kaylee have her nail beds or how as a retired junior-high math teacher she would have been delighted to see my children love math.  The hole seems smaller then, but even after ten years I can still remember so many details of her and I want so badly for my kids to grow up knowing their Grandma Ruby loves them all the way from heaven.

I hope and pray for Amazing Grace for Chad’s family that now has a hole like ours, when someone you love leaves too soon.  I hope our community shows the same level of rallying and support the trust fund in Chad’s name to help his family. Please consider donating to the Chad Rogers Memorial Fund c/o US Bank, 1909 W Kansas St. Liberty MO. 64068

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Summer Pep Talk for You and Me

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There is a saying that floats around Facebook.  You may have heard it from well-meaning women in grocery store check-out lines while your tribe is begging for all the impulse candy.  I know I hear it often in my head. 

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Oh! This saying creates a sense of panic in me.  What about you?  I start questioning my involvement, my intentions and my priorities.  Am I too caught up in the moment-to-moment emotions, homework and conflicts to see the good stuff in front of me?  Am I wishing my days would either smooth out or go by faster instead of soaking up that our house is great when it is noisy and crazy?  I know I have done both over the past 10.5 years of my mothering journey.  (I still can’t believe my first-born is 10.5 years old… how did that happen? I bet I blinked.  My Mom warned me not to!)

Mothering has changed me in ways I didn’t know it would.  It has built me up and broke me apart.  Being a mom has brought me closer to what truly matters to me.  I have gained a deeper relationship with my God, my self and my family.  It has granted me the sweetest moments of love, pure and true.  Each time one of my children holds my face in their sweaty little grip to kiss me gently or they give me eskimo kisses I feel that love.  And I have seen God in their love for each other.  Sure, they can fight to the death at times, but those fights are few compared to the countless times I have caught them doing right by one another.  They help one another, they stick up for one another and they go on great-caped adventures around our home together.  I have also seen God in their love of all creation.  During the times we slow down, we become grass-stained, freckle-faced and sun-kissed together.  Those days make mothering feel long in a good, carefree way.

The long and short of it is that someday we will swear all the carefree and stress-filled days went faster than we ever thought possible.  If only God would let us push pause, I know we all would.  Here is a glimpse of my paused world maybe you feel the same.  

~ I would pause to have the table full of clanking silverware, dropped napkins, spilled milk that floods everywhere to feel bliss.

~ I would pause to have full beds of the ones we love under the same roof each night to feel peace.

~ I would pause to be the one our children turn to no matter if it is a fly they know for sure is a “bee” or a scary dream that they need to be comforted from.

~ I would pause to be the short order cook/nutritionist who wants to raise healthy people.

~ I would pause to be the one that hugs when they bubble over for no good reason when hormones have started to wreck their bodies, minds and spirits.

~ I would pause to be the one that teaches them to find God in everything around them and in everyone they meet.

In the long and the short of our days, I am praying for you and I to fully sit in the brevity and choose to honor the moments we have been given.  God has chosen us to be a guide in our children’s lives. We point out the path and then let them lead the way.  They are to be our guide as well to bring us back to what truly matters.

Let your children guide you this summer and let’s all enjoy the days we are blessed with.

Remember – try not to blink!

Blessings and Peace to your families and YOU.

Kristin

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(This was originally shared with MOPS@2BC in May 2013.  I re-read it today, because after a crazy week with 2 rounds of antibiotics for major spider bite infections/pain/illness for Rhett and I, a small bathroom renovation, boys traveling for the week, usual wild week stuff plus Kaylee getting sick with the flu early today – – I really needed to be reminded that the days are long and the years are short… share on if you think others might need a reminder too.  Let’s be honest we all do.)

So much…

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I often hear the following:

“I don’t know how you do it all.”

“You should learn to say no.”

“I see you coming and going all the time.  Aren’t you exhausted?”

“Just watching you buzz around makes me exhausted.”

I’ll be honest sometimes it stings.  I do have a lot of plates spinning.  And sometimes I am not sleeping much.  My “extra” things are keeping me up late.  It is the soft footsteps padding down the hall from my sweet three-year old at 3:00 a.m.  And yes, I could have a big production of the injustice of getting out of bed to tuck him back in, but I’ve noticed that his current level of “momma need” is fleeting.  My gig is to be his “person.”

Being his “person” reminds me of a great line from the show, Grey’s Anatomy from a couple years back.

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It is a different kind of “person” than the friendship described on that show.  But it still stands true.  I am his “person” and I will always be.  I am actually 3 smaller people’s “person” and one adult’s.

I try to not lose myself in all the doing, going and being.  It is a lot of ever-changing, coaching, and communicating.  I could use a nap just thinking about it all.  We all know that there isn’t time for that. 🙂  I keep my plates spinning and my people happy. (most of the time)  I am enjoying this phase of motherhood, family, MOPS Leadership, and master’s classes more than any other time yet.  It is freeing to have all these parts to my life and I am thankful for all the plates to spin.  Some days it seems like everything is falling apart and plates are crashing by the crate full.  Those are the days that stick out when some one comments about the business of my busy-ness.  It cuts a little, but I know that this crazy season is what I am in for now and it is a good thing I love it.

A Solid Investment

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Our wooden play set stands guard in our backyard of dead, dry grass as a beacon of hope for warmth and long days outside.  We moved to our home a little over 2 years ago.  One of the first, big, non-negotiable purchases we knew would be a play set with swings.  It has been a staple in our outdoor play and many times during this mild Missouri winter, we have been outside playing on it.

Today was one of those days.  A day “too cold” in Momma’s opinion, but just right for all three kids.  I heard them through my cracked open kitchen window.  They were laughing, shooting storm troopers together and of course there were the predictable set of tears and screaming.  It was an accident.  It is hard for our three year old to remember to watch for swinging feet and spinning tire swings.  Especially after not being outside for a few weeks.

They all came in chilled to the bone, but gleeful.  Time with each other on their play set was just what they needed in the great outdoors to run, scream and pretend.  I asked more about what they pretended and they each went into different versions of a Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  I am thankful they can be so happy together on a cloudy afternoon.

That play set was a solid investment.  Their cackling laughter is worth every penny.  I am so glad we didn’t wait.  I know it would be have been a big mistake if we had delayed or never installed the play set.  Glad as parents we just did what needed to be done.

In My Rearview Mirror Tonight

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In my rearview mirror tonight, in the dark as I drove home a new way on our busy highway I saw life differently.  As my kids chattered on about their day and church, I felt my heart in my throat.

In the backseat of my cluttered, orange van was my 3 blessings all buckled in unaware of what I was seeing.  Nothing out of the ordinary, except we had a lot more shining headlights near us on the highway.  As the lights shone in, I did what all moms do, I assume.  I glanced in my rear view mirror to see my kids as they spoke and asked me questions.  With the ever changing light, I couldn’t see them very clearly.  Their sweet faces would be lit for a moment and then go dark.

What caught my heart and made me try to do my best “motherhood moment time freeze” (MMTF for short) was what I saw upon their heads.  I saw two with little ash crosses and one with curls.  My two older kids took part of Ash Wednesday services, where they were marked with the sign of the cross in ashes by our Pastor.

He said to each person marked, “Remember who you are. Remember whose you are.”  I hope and pray that those are more than just words they heard once.  I hope those words are resonated in the love they receive from their Daddy and I, their Sunday School teachers, their church community, their extended family and friends.  That in our hearts and minds we can remember their cross on their foreheads like it is always there.

If they grow with knowing that, then we all will have blessed them.  

 

PS – I am challenging myself to post every day of Lent.  

        Dear Lord, Help us all. Amen

        Read, share, skip – – do whatever works for you.  I need to write and publish more.

 

 

 

 

 

My 3 year old knows more than me…

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He is starting to process and talk more.  He has been what most would call delayed.  We say he is a late bloomer.  He has impressed us for a couple of years with his resourcefulness.  He could imitate sounds for things that he needed or wanted, which always reminded me of the character from the Police Academy movies.  The sound, “shhhhh” was for the water dispenser for our fridge.  “Woof” was all he would say for our dog, Harley.  It was simple but we all got it.

As I said, he is starting to really bloom.  I have teased that it is like watching someone who imigrates or visits here with broken English as he tries to find the right words.  He is focused.  He usess gestures, taps his foot and looks around saying, “eh” or “um.”  If you give him time, he gets it together.  He beams with pride, if you ask him the right claryifying question back.  And he loses his red-headed temper when you are way off base.  He is even known to cover his eyes with his hand and shake his head back and forth in dismay and disapproval.  (Which cracks  me up, but I would never let him see me laugh)

His two older siblings came out of the womb talking non-stop. (hmm… that is definitely hereditary if you ask my Mom)  But Rhett has been much later to talk and question.  He is now sharing his highlight reel of his preschool morning and it is amazing.  He is starting to not just listen to books at bedtime, but repeat, sing along and now ask “why.”  It is music to this Mama’s ears.  Even all the whys.

You may be wondering how a 3 year old is smarter than me.  It all happened as we read before bed this past Saturday.  We were reading a family favorite, Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado.  He has heard this book hundreds of times and I am sure I have read it a thousand times or more in the past 10 years of bedtimes.  It is an “auto-pilot” book.  Meaning I don’t need to read it with the words.  I can just recite it and I don’t often pay close attention to the meaning behind the words.  We were snuggled together and he was very relaxed sitting on my lap in our chair.  All of a sudden he turned to face me and took  me by my cheeks.  He pulled me close and I fought the urge to go into “mom-mode” of “hey, let’s get back to the book.”  But something happened that has never happened before.

He looked deep into my eyes and beamingly said, “Me love you like God love you Mama!” Oh, the tears of joy I instantly had were so full of love.  I covered his face with kissed until he started squealing.  I told him repeatedly, “you got it buddy!”  He gets it better than I do.  He pulled away and said, “Me see God soon?”  And I replied, “God is in everything you see.”  Rhett looked around and said, “Me meet God on Tuesday.”  I said, “Maybe so.”  And he smiled back.  We snuggled down and finished our book with a mom that was not on “auto-pilot.”  We prayed and I tucked him in tight.

As I stepped out of his peaceful room, I thought I can’t wait to share this story on Tuesday.

Hope you have a great Tuesday and that you can find the blessings in the abundance we all have in our lives from God.

Love,

A Mom of A Late Bloomer

BE A BLESSING!

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It all started when Ian went to Kindergarten in the fall of 2008. I would bubble up with all the remember to’s when he left me each day for school.

Remember to play nice.

Remember to use your listening ears.

Remember to be good.

Remember to share.

Remember to take care of yourself.

Remember to help friends who need help.

These don’t even cover the magnitude of what I thought I needed to remind him of each morning. It became quite a long speech. One day it hit me that he didn’t need a bullet point list on how to be at school. He had received that foundation. What he needed was encouragement and inspiration from his Momma. I thought long and hard about what to say in a quick, loving send off.

Be good – but it sounded like be better than others

Be the best – but it sounded like a lot of pressure for a 1st born/type A kiddo

Follow Instructions – but it sounded only rule focused and not creative or relational.

Then I started to learn more about God’s intentionality about each person being designed with a true gift and purpose. We are to use our individual giftedness to be a blessing to ourselves and others. It flipped a switch in my brain. A true EUREKA moment happened. I had found it. My blessing and sending off each time my kids headed to school or anywhere became…

BE A BLESSING!

In the morning now for years, I focus on each of them before they leave our home. Right after jackets and backpacks are on, I take them by the collar and look them right in the eye. I smile and say, “Be a Blessing!” No matter our morning. No matter how tense the time may have been. I bless them. It has become a Wooldridge Ritual. Even Amon surprised me when I was heading off to my seminary retreat in August. He took my by my shoulders and told me to Be a Blessing! It was the first time in over 4 years of blessing our children, that I was blessed before I headed out on a new journey. It felt GOOD! I felt like I was commissioned and blessed with love.

Even today as my three kids left for school, I pulled each of those yahoos by their collars and looked them in the eyes. I then happily sent them off with their blessing!

It is powerful.

It is intentional.

It is positive.

It is from love.

It is inspirational.

I pray for the them to do good, kind things to themselves and those they come in contact with. And that they can make choices that they can be proud of or at least learn from. Raising loving, positive kids should never be easy. It is all about constant choices, communication and pressure. But it is rewarding and amazing to witness their wings being developed. Man, oh, Man – – are they going to take off some day!

SO REMEMBER…

BE A BLESSING!

A little extra I had to share with you::

Today after Ian and Kaylee left the house. I turned my attention to the final details of getting Rhett out the door. I heard the back door open and I wasn’t surprised to hear MOM yelled. It happens often…

Someone forgot a coat

Someone forgot a permission slip

Someone forgot a lunch

Someone forgot a library book

Someone forgot their glasses (usually this one)

I came quickly back into the kitchen to see Ian beaming. Then he started to repeatedly and loudly chant to me.

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

BE A BLESSING!

B E A BLESSING!

What a great chant to start my day! I am blessed beyond measure.

Praying that each of us can B E A BLESSING to those in our lives.

(Thank you for your grace and support as I have been absent from blogging. I am praying to be more intentional. It helps me express my thoughts and I hope it provides encouragement to you as your read. Thank you again for your support. I count each of you who read this as blessings in my life. BE A BLESSING!)

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Chasing My Tail and 3+ others!!

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Awareness: Haven’t blogged here in 2 months and 2 days. I do write every day (well almost) but I haven’t had the time to type them up here… hence this post. I am going to do better at posting. It really helps me grow.

Here goes… disclaimer… if you know me well you know I love our three wild.woolly.wooldridges but I needed to express how motherhood is selfless at every moment unless you are in Mexico and their grandparents are being selfless to care for your kids.

The only room that really is staying clean (most of the time) is our kitchen. It is the site of three culinary experiences a day right now. Well, maybe not that great, but I’m trying to keep 3 eaters happy and well-balanced. With that comes planning mess, prep mess, cooking mess, dining mess, and cleaning mess and post dishwasher unloading. I get that it is important but not much else is happening these days in the rest of the rooms or personally in projects and plans.

As I was clearing another pile of O.P.S., Other People’s Stuff (a family of 5 makes/creates/receives a lot of O.P.S.) from the kitchen counter, I found a half-sheet from my eldest’s Sunday school class folder. It stopped me in my tracks as I was headed to the recycling bin.

If a task is once begun, never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.

Really???? Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

This is probably how I felt before I had children. When I was on my own or newly married. But I think it took mothering for me to get over this way of doing and also judging others for not doing like I was. Now I can get interrupted just once on the way to the pantry and I can’t remember the ingredient I was after. Countless times I will walk around the house and shake my head at the open, half-emptied dishwasher, the drippy ice cream container on the counter, the forgotten toilet bowl cleaner waiting to be swished for hours (extra clean if it sits all day, right?), and I can’t forget the stinky laundry in the washer. (it isn’t like this everyday… but to be boldly honest… it does happen!) I’m pretty sure I don’t have Adult ADHD, but I am sure that moms, especially me are here to help our people, drop what we are doing to mediate a fight or kiss an injury and snuggle until they are better. I don’t jeopardize my children over the task at hand if I can help it and they need me. I’m not saying I’m perfect at either the tasks or the mothering… just trying to find balance.

The top part of the sheet could make me guilt ridden because I should be more focused to deeds and not needs. I am pretty sure I can’t get “IT” all done. But the bottom of the sheet saved me.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10 NKJV

Praise the Lord!!! My hands are always being called to touch and do. So be it refereeing, snuggling, playing fire trucks while wearing a SWAT helmet, I will do it mightily. This verse helps me see the blessings in my blessings and interruptions. The parenting saying goes, the hours are long, the but the years are short. I couldn’t have imagined how much I would do as a mother. But I can see the years flying by.

Our home (especially our kitchen) is clean enough. Our home serves pancakes from a bag multiple times a week even though my eldest says they are not his favorite. Our home is loving, loud and squirrelly everyday. My kids won’t and don’t measure me by my to do list. They measure me by my love and presence. And those I will continue to do mightily.

NOTE: 1 minute after hand-writing this post: Kaylee asked what was for lunch as I looked over at the counter full of breakfast dishes. While typing this all 3 kids came to me with a complaint, need or dispute. BUT I SOLDIERED ON AND POSTED!!!!!!

Now there is screaming in the basement… off again… no supermom cape… a mighty mom who will be planning and making and cleaning up lunch soon.

Motherhood is like a box of chocolates…

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(9 months a year for 6 years I have written to the women of MOPS@2BC–  in our newsletter – this was for May 2012)

Forrest Gump may have thought life was like a box of chocolate because you never know what you are going to get.  I agree with good old Forrest, but I would have to say that motherhood is a better take on the unknown.  (Heck sometimes I don’t have a clue how even the next 5 minutes are going to go, let alone a whole day, week or month!)

In my life, I can and have made choices and had free will on my side.  I could choose to a point what I studied, where I worked, what I ate, how much I slept and who I was with, etc.  Motherhood is thrust upon all of us in different ways, but it still hits hard with emotions, love, sleep deprivation and being a little crazy all at the same time.  And many times when faced with what decision we need to make for our kids, we feel lost.  I know I do.  The unknown isn’t always as neat as a chocolate box.  It isn’t easy to predict and of course, their temperament and reaction play heavily into each choice.

Many times I feel like I have selected my favorite “chocolate” (a.k.a. my plan or choice), just to have the sudden rush of missing the mark and failing.  In failing, I become a better parent.  It helps sharpen my awareness and it helps me to relate to my motherhood chocolate box differently.  I start identifying the shapes that I like and that also give my child some freedom and independence.  Those moments taste like warm caramel wrapped in chocolate.  Simply delish.

The harder to swallow moments taste like that coconut nougat that I avoid at all costs and offer to anyone near.  We all have those, right?

My prayer for each of us this summer is to enjoy and savor each bite of chocolate with our kids at home and underfoot.  They won’t be there long, ladies.

Be good to yourself, so you can be good to your people.  Hope to see you over the summer!

Faithfully,

Kristin