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Susan Wanderer has worked with families in kids ministry for 20 years, with the last ten years serving as Kids Minister at Mount Ararat Church in Stafford. Susan and her husband Ed reside in Fredericksburg and have three amazing kids who joined their family in 2011 and who fill their days with adventure. Come join the conversation over at 

MWMG Pediatrics

My Stomping Grounds

Some of you Summer-Hard. And you love every inch of the season. The non-routine, the kids being home, the heat, the chlorine, the sand, the salt, the coppertone, the slurpees, the neighborhood kids choosing your yard as the cool spot.  While others of you went and celebrated the start of the school year with a two hour massage and a mani/pedi while singing a modern edgy version of the Hallelujah Chorus.

wanderer kids

If you are a summer person or a SEND-THOSE-KIDS-BACK-TO-SCHOOL-NOW person, here are some of my favorite things about Back-To-School:

  1. School Supplies – seriously, I adore the scent of new crayons, pencils, glue sticks, spiral notebooks, backpacks.  It’s like a new car smell, only a a few thousand dollars cheaper.

  2. Back To School Night – yep, I’m THAT mom.  It took me forever to become a Mom so I seriously ADORE the BTS Nights and all the excitement. I want to sign up for everything. But by the time week two arrives, WHAT-WAS-I-THINKING hits me in the face. I un-sign myself up and apologize. My child’s current excitement will be gone by Thursday, and the teacher is clearly not surprised. Go Team Wanderer. Bless our hearts.

  3. Bedtime – the first week of school is a bit brutal. I feel like an 80 year old woman and my kids absolutely have no understanding of rational thinking past a certain hour in the evening. “It’s 6:00pm, let’s start getting ready for bed.”

  4. Routine – it is no longer the land of never-ending randomness. Routine has returned.  Routine, you are my soulmate. You complete me.

  5. Pumpkin Spice – sure our country has gone a weeeeeeeeeee bit overboard in its addiction and love of ALL THINGS Pumpkin Spice (seriously, who needs Pumpkin Spice Deodorant), but the first week of school announces its grand arrival. My spice candles are lit and I eagerly anticipate the first sip of the Starbucks Goodness.

  6. Field Trips – I love field trips. And fall means a Pumpkin Patch adventure with my second grader. My first rookie-mom field trip when my oldest daughter went on her kindergarten Pumpkin Patch trip I was reminded that September/October in Virginia means heat. But I wore fall-ish attire in order to snap a good few photos. And I looked like a wet-rat by the end of the trip. My head was soaked from sweat. Such a first world dilemma. Now I realize the name of the game is layers… bless my rookie-mom-wanted-a-good-photo-heart.

  7. Kick Off Sunday – our church, Mount Ararat in Stafford, has Back-To School Sunday this week and we are reminded why Sundays are our favorite days! My kids ADORE going to meet their new small group leaders for the new school year. Seeing other adults investing in my child is a gift.

  8. Quiet House – my house has not been quiet in eleven weeks. I forgot what quiet sounds like. While I did adore having my kiddos home and hearing their sounds of laughter, squeals, arguing and singing, I was reminded I also like quiet.  Quiet has a lovely little lullaby to it. Quiet and I were reunited this week.

  9. Stories – we play high/low in the evenings. Each person shares one high experience and one low experience from their day. It’s my favorite. I love listening to their stories. Celebrating their highs and consoling the lows. This part of our day makes us a team.  It makes us realize that family is something bigger than sharing a home. It makes us each others' cheerleaders and support.

  10. Uniforms – my kids go to a school that has a uniform dress code. I adore it. No more “you can’t wear that, you wore it when you were four, its too tight.” A set uniform means a little less grumbling. Which makes my ears celebrate. Bless all the Mary Janes and knee socks!

Like it or love it, the Back-To-School season is here! Lets embrace it with a pumpkin spice in one hand and a pom-pom in the other as we cheer our kids on in each of their fall endeavors.

Happy Schooling, my friends!

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Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches Visits the Past


If Pouches' experience at History Camp is any indication, your son or daughter will enjoy joining Washington Heritage Museums and the George Washington Foundation for History Camp in Fredericksburg. The week-long day camp will be held June 25-29, from 9:00 a.m. to noon each day.

Young historians discover American history with hands-on experiences as they walk in the footsteps where the history of Fredericksburg, and a budding America, was created. The camp complements the history taught in classrooms with activities such as soap making, code breaking, colonial crafts, penmanship and much more.