Thursday, August 25, 2011

Playgroup by the Numbers

Since just after Caleb turned 1, we have been a part of a great fantastic playgroup.  All of us mommies knew one another from church, and when it started, our little ones were just that.  Little.  It is now 3 years later.  Our kids have size and number.

We have spent the last 3 years growing together.  Indoors and out.  Exploring zoos and parks and pumpkin patches and any other play area we could find.  Sharing meals and sharing toys.  Doing crafts and playing games.   And, in addition to our regular meeting times, these were families that we would get together with on other days as play, to have lunch, to get out of the house, to have mommy time.  My kids have learned a lot about friendship from this group.  And I have learned a lot about mothering from this group.  It's been such a blessing.

That first Fall (2008), we started with 6 mommies and 7 kids, ages 1 and under.  Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of all the kids together from that stage of playgroup.....4 of the 7 are pictured here.  
 (Maddie and Caleb had just turned 1; Jack was 6-ish months; Ella was 1 1/2...not pictured: Lydia, Coralyn, Matt).
By that next Fall (2009), we had 6 mommies, 9 kids, and some babies on the way.
(Meredith, Caleb, Matt, Jack, Lydia, Cora, Ella are below...not pictured are Maddie and Aubrey).

By the next Spring (2010) we had 7 Mommies, 10 kids, and 5 babies on the way, including a set of twins!

By that Summer (2010) we had 7 Mommies, 15 kids, and 1 baby on the way...Shane!  
Everyone is pictured here, plus 2 bonus kiddos (U & S who lived with us for a good portion of last summer).
One of those mommies and her husband and their 3 little ones (including the newborn twins) moved away just before the summer of 2010 ended (miss you Friend family!), so we were left with 6 Mommies & 12 kids.

Here is a picture of the little ones at the Fall Frenzy we planned last Fall...the Friend family came back up for the event, so everyone is in this picture except for the babies (Logan and Schaeffer).  And, Shane was not yet born, obviously.

When Shane was born that winter (2010), we were at 6 Mommies & 13 kids....all ages 4 and under.

This picture was just taken last week...these are the precious faces of my kids' 1st friends.  Oh, and there is one more little one on the way, due in December!  

The inevitable has happened, as it usually does.  As our oldest kids have begun to reach preschool-age, playgroup is changing....because of school schedules and life schedules, playgroup will be different this year.  And, while change can be a very good thing, for me there is always a bit of a "mourning period".  Life as I knew it was comfortable.  It was fairly predictable (you know, as predictable as life with 3 kids ages 3 and under can be).  It was fun and we have had a great routine going with some great friends.  And, while playgroup will continue on this year, there will be changes.  One family will no longer be a part of the group (you will be missed, Hillingers!) and sweet Coralyn will be in preschool during the time we meet (thankful that Lisa and Kalli will still be able to come, though).  And, we realize that our time as a group is coming to a close.

I am thankful that the friendships we've made here will not end, even if playgroup-as-we-once-knew-it is a bit different this year.  And we are looking forward to the months more outings with our friends, more full-to-the-brim houses, more messy kitchen tables and floors.

I am thankful that my kids at such a very young age have had a safe and structured environment in which to make their first friends.  Fun Fact:  "Ella" was actually the first name that Caleb said, other than "Mommy", "Daddy" and "Elmo". =)

I am thankful that our playgroup has crossed over to Girls' Nights Out and a monthly book club.  Ahhh, uninterrupted mommy time...

This stage of life - being a Mommy of small children - is amazing yet challenging.  I am most thankful that the Lord has given us a community of families who, just like ourselves, are striving to live lives that honor Him.  A community of other moms who are also seeking to raise their kids in the Lord.  And, while we may not always agree on the best bedtime routines or what our kids should eat for lunch, we are all committed to raising our kids in the Lord.  And after all, isn't that what matters the most?

Everyone at our playgroup picnic last summer (2010)...the Friend twins and Shane are there, just hiding in bellies.
Well, there you have it.  Playgroup by the Numbers.  Many mommies, lots of precious kids, 1 wonderful playgroup.

Click here to see a few past pasts about playgroup.


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