Homeschool Field Day – Part 1

I am so absolutely over-the-moon excited (and as exaggeratory as ever) to share the following post with you.

Two reasons.

1. My sister-in-law, Amy, is a self-taught photographer whose talent and expertise is growing by leaps and bounds, and this post proves it. And…

2. Speaking of Amy, everything I share in the next week or so concerning this Field Day is 100% dedicated to her. I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to stumble across our First Annual Cousin Show, which showcases the theatrical play the children in our family put on in the backyard. (If not, you simply must! Spit spot!). Well, that night was my doing, a whimsical and old-fashioned event dripping with childish sweetness and innocence. It was my sentimental heart and all the love I contain for our children and music and theatrics bottled up in a 30-minute show, and I was bursting at the seams once the evening was finished and called a success…

On the other hand (but somehow likewise?), this Homeschool Field Day is all Amy. Adventurous. Vintage. Athletic. Brave. Outdoorsy. Capable. Awesome.

As different as we are (I’m a singing bookworm and she is an athletic mathematician), we share a brain when it comes to parties and events and beauty and homeschool, and we have a shared love for antiques and treasure hunting. While I’m a mix of Victorian/English Manor/farmhouse, she is a mix of cottage/retro/farmhouse – but we absolutely speak the same shopping/decorating/partying/farmhouse language. My Mom thinks we’re nuts (and now probably you do, too), even as she often forks over the dough to fund our “creativity”…but she always loves the finished product, and just happens to be our biggest fan.

But I’ve got to say…Amy took it up a notch with this Field Day. I was in awe at the finished product and went from being her co-host to her humble apprentice as she stepped boldly into the role of Jedi-master event planner. I was speechless when I saw what she had accomplished, but mostly, I was so deeply thankful for this day she handcrafted for the children in our family and in our church.

Why? Because just like I mentioned in my posts about the theatrical play, sometimes us homeschoolers have this fear that our kids are going to miss out, that their life will not be as complete or even as fun as ours were growing up…

Do you remember those amazing Field Days at the end of each elementary school year? You’d be drenched with sweat, surrounded by your friends, eating your delicious sack lunch with a sweatband on your arm and a side ponytail atop your head (complete with a scrunchie that matched your sweatband). Your heart was racing with fear that you might mess up in front of your schoolmates and trip during the relay race, and you seriously thought everyone in the bleachers was watching you…but when you crossed the finish line, your fears were replaced with childish triumph as you accepted that little satin ribbon with the gold-foil lettering. It didn’t matter if your friend won “1st place” in an event and you won a ribbon that said “Way to go!” What mattered is that your teacher wrote your name on the back of your ribbon, you got to hang it on the bulletin board by your bed, and life was pretty much perfect.

Amy, with all of her hard work and generosity (and aided by our amazing friend Chrissy who has the heart of a servant and the work ethic of a frontierswoman), gave our kids a day just like that and then some. And by the way, she is pretty pregnant and it was pretty hot out there.

Here’s how it went down….

At 9:50 a.m. on June 14th, the 1/2 acre lot next to our house on the hill lay quietly waiting for the participants of our 1st Annual Homeschool Field Day to arrive. The scene was vintage athletic perfection, and the air was electric with excitement and anticipation. Take a look…

I had only two contributions to this party: This giant poster that Amy and Chrissy hung on the shed, and the background music. {Perhaps I’ll share our playlist if I can figure out how to do so!} I had not made a giant banner like this since my cheerleading days, so I was a little rusty, but I’ve got to say, it felt pretty good to be back in the saddle again, even if I didn’t have enough paint to do bubble letters…
We are YOUNG, We are STRONG, We are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY Made!!! The perfect theme for a Homeschool Field Day with a Biblical worldview, if you ask me…
Amy made this super-simple (but super-cute!) banner out of construction paper and twine (and since I know Amy so well, I know how much it is going to bug her that the red piece of paper lost its staple. Blame in on that blustery Oklahoma wind, NOT Amy, okay?).
And I should also go ahead and point out that Amy  has the best penmanship in the world, even when she is using chalk. And her mathematical brain easily drew up this chart that would have taken me a couple of hours to come up with…
There were 9 classic Field Day events for our 11 participants, ranging from 2- to 8-years old. 
See? Told you Amy was great with chalk.
Oh yeah, I forgot that I had a 3rd job: bringing the water. Surprise, surprise, I used my Martinelli bottles again…
I bought these wooden dumbbells at an antique store in Jenks, Oklahoma, when Gideon was a toddler. They weren’t dirt cheap, but then again, they weren’t too awful expensive…and when you see what Amy did with them in Part 2, you’ll agree that they were worth every penny.
So I know I mentioned my  love for those special satin prize ribbons with gold letters on them. But LOOK at what Amy made…
When I saw these ribbons, I almost cried like a baby at Field Day, in front of God and all 11 participants and their family members.
Brightly colored hula hoops…
and buckets of jump ropes and softballs were the “accessories” to Amy’s Field Day decor.
And an obstacle course (only partly displayed here) beckons the children to experience for the first time what fun can be found in organized athletics.
And here, in my opinion, is the highlight of Amy’s Field Day preparations: She made a t-shirt for each participant and had it waiting for them on our “clothesline” (or old crusty grape arbor. Whatever). The sight of these shirts blowing in the breeze also made me want to cry. No I’m not pregnant. Yes I am a sentimental nutcase. And I really, really love Amy.
So…this is what was waiting for us at 9:50 a.m. right outside our office windows. Just WAIT until you see what fun we had when the clock finally struck 10…
Part 2…coming soon!

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