It’s been a while since my last life update post, so today I thought I’d share some random things that have been going on for the Vail family. Today Jack and Caroline had their first day of school- Jack is in 2nd grade and Caroline is in Kindergarten. (Here’s the link to the flags we use- I love pulling them out every year!) It was a busy summer with travel and activities while home, and I think all of us were itching to get back to school and settle into routines again. Truthfully, summers are often quite stressful for me as a work from home mom of 3 little ones, but this was our best summer yet and we made lots of happy memories!
Jack and Caroline joined the junior swim team at our pool this summer and we had early morning practice every day for the first half of the summer. For most of the junior team it’s about getting familiar with strokes, having fun, and learning. My kids didn’t compete in any meets throughout the season but the daily practice was a really great way to improve their skills, and since my kids are early risers anyway it was a good way to get us out of the house bright and early. Jack has a tendency to goof around at practice so I don’t think the coaches thought he was totally ready to compete because he hadn’t shown the potential I knew he had, but he finally competed in his first meet (the final meet of the season) and he won his heat and was totally in his element! I’m a little bummed that he only raced once this summer, but now we all know what he’s capable of and he’s excited to continue with swim team next year.
We went to Maine to visit Tom’s side of the family and it was such a wonderful visit. We visited Tom’s parents’ fish camp and swam, fished, and kayaked around the pond. We visited Tom’s sister’s farm, where we pet goats, picked blueberries, and collected chicken eggs. The family dogs were the highlight of the trip for kids and I think Daisy, Sam, and Maverick breathed a sigh of relief once we left. I ate my weight in fresh lobster and scallops, which means it was a successful trip in my book. As a girl born and raised in Georgia, it is always such a treat getting to go to Maine every year!
Tom has been traveling for work a good bit so I’ve been holding down the fort with the kids. I’ve found that with 3 kids it’s often hard to muster the courage to get out the door, but the days that we get moving early and keep moving are often the best days for us. Lots of playground visits, trips to the pool, visits to Jeni’s Ice Cream, and play dates with friends have kept us busy! Sometimes I bring my computer and work off of my hot spot while the kids play on the playground, and other times I listen to podcasts with one AirPod in or bring weights and do a little workout (here’s a Reel I made recently with 4 equipment-free exercises to do at the playground). To celebrate the end of summer I took the kids for a picnic on the National Mall and then we went to the National Children’s Museum in the heart of DC. It was lots of fun!
At the end of July we did our big trip down south to visit my side of the family. We first drove to Chattanooga, Tennessee to visit my brother and sister-in-law, and we had so much fun swimming in a creek, exploring the children’s museum, and visiting the aquarium. My brother, Tom, and I went for a great run on the side of Lookout Mountain- always such a beautiful place to run. I plan to do a more detailed blog post on things to do while there in the coming weeks. I did cook my first every tomato pie while in Chattanooga and it was delicious! I used this recipe from Tuckernuck and the only thing I’ll probably change for next time is using a different cheese (Jarlsburg is a little too swissy for me.)
After Chattanooga we headed to Covington, Georgia to visit my grandparents. They still live in the home they lived in while I was growing up so these visits with my children bring back so many memories. My grandparents bought a power wheels Barbie Jeep when I was 5 and all of my cousins and I would always make countless laps around the house in that thing. They are on their second iteration of the Barbie Jeep (not bad after over 30 years) and the kids LOVE the thing. They played for hours, making up games and riding around the house over and over again and it brought such delight to my grandparents to see their great grandchildren making memories at their home!
After 2 nights in Georgia we drove to Fripp Island, South Carolina, which is where my parents live now. We spent over a week with them, going to the beach and pools every single day. We went on a 3 mile family bike ride (Caroline is now such a great biker without training wheels and I bought the handiest toddler seat for Tate to sit on on my bike) and it was fun to do that for the first time with them.
Tate started full time daycare two weeks ago and I’m a bit emotional about losing the extra hours with her during the day. I know it will be the best thing for all of us (she loves school and playing with friends and I really need to buckle down and be more consistent with creating content), but it’s bittersweet that my time with babies at home with me practically non-stop is coming to an end. She did two 2 hour visits to her new daycare prior to our trip down south and I think was a really helpful way to help ease her into the new school and get her excited about starting full time. The children were so welcoming and the teachers are so kind and nurturing. She’s had great days (though there have been some tears) and I’m so proud of her for being brave!
I’ve been playing tennis more frequently and it is SO much fun! I did not grow up playing tennis so deciding to learn something new as an adult was quite intimidating at first but I’m so glad I decided to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve made great friends and the lessons I’ve taken have really helped me improve my skills. I plan to join our club’s tennis league in the fall and I look forward to continuing to improve my game! The cute tennis clothes are a fun perk 🙂 The kids had tennis camp for a couple weeks and I hope to be able to play with them one day!
Hope everyone had a wonderful summer and thanks for taking the time to read! I’m hoping to get back into a Monday, Wednesday, Friday blog post schedule, so if you have any requests please send them my way!