Margaret (Curtis) McDaniel + Curtis McDaniel = Curtis.Squared

September 6, 2019

Back to School

August and September (so far) have been an adjustment for our family as we have had 3 school schedules to work around! Anna was so excited to go back to school that she stood by this display at our local grocery store and had me send it to her teacher!
Anna started first grade on August 13.

 She took the bus and I didn't even meet her on the other side (like last year). She's becoming so independent! She is LOVING first grade and her teacher!
Around the same time, Curtis's schedule started ramping up as he prepared for freshmen outreach at Purdue. He has organized a ministry team of student leaders that he teaches and equips. It has grown, but we have needed it for the growth in RUF! This picture includes the entire ministry team, Carrie (our lovely intern), Curtis and I. They have all worked very hard over the last 3-4 weeks!! 
This was evidenced by the large turnout we had at RUF's first meeting a few days later. This is especially remarkable because the large student organization fair (students heavily rely on this to know where to get get plugged in) was canceled. 
We also gave out free barbecue to students as a way to meet new students and feed them. It's fun when our kids get to come too. Several RUF events happen after their bedtime so we love taking them whenever we get the chance! :)
They love their "big friends"!
 In the midst of all the school festivities, we had a fast and fun visit with my aunt and uncle!

And then a RUF trip to the Indiana Dunes on Labor Day!
Kate loved being buried in the sand.
And finally, Kate got her turn on September 3! She started her first experience of school - she'll be going to Pre-Kindergarten for 3 days a week. She gave us the best smiles!

She's easy to photograph when she wants to be!
Drew and I look forward to special time together when Anna, Kate, and Curtis are all at their respective schools!

August 15, 2019

What Happened in July?

July was jam-packed with fun! We began the month meeting my parents halfway between Indiana and Florida and going to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We decided to do this instead of traveling at Christmas (even though I think I'd prefer to be in Florida in December)! We went to the Three Bears General Store, which is much more than just a store. It was a really unique place where you can do all sorts of things! Here's all 3 in front of the humongous bear when you first walk in.
Anna is obsessed with Chuck E. Cheese right now and she was so excited when she discovered one inside the store! OK, well, it was an arcade area, but we didn't want to correct her! :) It was Kate and Drew's first experience with it! Drew preferred this light-up handle the best.
Kate got lots of tickets and spent them all on lollipops!
One of the main attractions (for the adults, anyway) was to go see some rescued bears and feed them through pipes. This bear wanted us to feed him more! I thought this was the best one I took!
The views were pretty amazing where we stayed.
The weather was pretty hot, but we were able to cool off in the pools! Ironically, the girls enjoyed the hot tub the most. Haha!
We celebrated Independence Day with sparklers:

We spent 2 days exploring Dollywood!
There were rides that were small enough for Drew to ride without us. They all had a ball!

I was pretty impressed that Grandma went on this rollercoaster with me and the girls!
Curtis took this bear ride with Kate. I just love these special moments that we're making with our family.
We got to see a show adapted from the book The Little Engine That Could. Even Drew enjoyed it - he was making high-pitched squeals throughout it!
I had to document that Grandad went on a ride!

I think this piggy ride was one of Drew's favorite rides of the whole park!
Sadly, right before the piggy ride was about to go with all 3 kids, they stopped all rides because a big storm was coming! So, our time in Dollywood was abruptly over, but it was time for naps so it all worked out.
We also went to the Island in Pigeon Forge. I couldn't help but take this picture with Grandma and Drew watching the dancing fountains. Candids are sometimes the best!
We drove around to see some of the amazing views that Gatlinburg had to offer! Here's a great picture of my parents.
And here we are, too!

Drew was so close to walking before we left Gatlinburg! 
Side note: He has a strange fascination with brooms and mops - maybe he'll help me clean one day!
We had a nice final evening with my parents before we went our separate ways. I am always amazed at how quickly our time together ends!
We had a nice picnic together at a rest area on the way back. I thought this selfie turned out pretty good!
And literally, the next day, Drew started walking! I think he wanted to be back at home where he was comfortable. I was sad my parents barely missed it!
Our annual visit to Chick-Fil-A for free food (aka "Cow Appreciation Day") was next on the agenda. Drew gives the best looks!
And then we went to Riverfest! It is probably our favorite community event that is offered in our town. So much for a picture where everyone smiled, LOL.
This bouncy slide was pretty scary at the top. In fact, Curtis had to go up and slide down with Kate.
Pony rides!
Face painting! I love how serious Kate was as she waited.

A rainbow for Kate

Wonder Woman for Anna
We went to a Lafayette Aviators baseball game. We had a good time, but the heat index was 100 degrees!
But hey, I won free pizza for a year!
Anna and Kate participated in Wonderful Wednesdays, which was Covenant Church's equivalent to a Vacation Bible School, but only on Wednesdays. Anna was reunited with several friends she made in Pre-K from 2 years ago.
We also went to our local waterpark, Tropicanoe Cove, and had a blast! Anna is tall enough to ride one of the new slides - she was thrilled!
Drew loves his bouncy ball that he got for his first birthday so we gifted it to his bud, Liam, when he turned one! My uncle calls him the "the vibrating ball evangelist!"
As the month of July came to an end, Curtis had to go to his semi-annual RUF training. The kids made sure to give him lots of affection before he left:

We spent time outside with Drew's new bubble lawn mower...
...and enjoying the pool!
We also went to the Tippecanoe County Fair! Kate wanted to go on rides she was too short to go on. I just loved this shot. She just stood there for a full minute or two watching it, wishing she could ride it. 
We were reminded of Dollywood as we rode the carousel. 
The helicopter was a big hit!
Anna and Kate regularly would say that their favorite part of the day was "the whole day." I think they have thoroughly enjoyed their summer together. 
They were so happy when the Kona Ice Truck drove to our neighborhood. We had waited for them to come all summer and they finally came!
I had taken Drew to a library program when the girls would attend Wonderful Wednesdays. On the last day of July, Anna and Kate joined him for it! This picture makes me laugh. 
And finally, we went to Chuck E. Cheese! It was a reward for the girls for loving each other well during the summer!
That's a wrap for July!