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I posted on my Facebook page during the last week of June how Staples began sending me Back-to-School Sale emails one week after school ended. Some people loved it, some clicked the angry face emoji and others hat tipped Staples for being smart marketers.

All I could think thought was, “Hey, summer is just beginning. Get off my lawn!” I love summer with my kids and the thought of it being over before it started wasn’t a happy thought. But now, it really is ending and I don’t know where the time went.

My children seemed to grow up before my eyes this summer as my boys hit milestone birthdays — 10 and 5 — and claimed some of the independence associated with those ages. This year, my 20-month-old daughter, Olive, took sign language classes with her brothers. I had individual movie dates with my boys to see “Captain Underpants” and “Cars 3.” The boys learned to play pickleball in the park. My wife brought a fine artist friend over to paint with Quincy, who is interested in art, and Hayden played basketball for the first time (not just dribbling and shooting, but actual movement with the ball).

Summer always feels like a reminder that my kids are growing up. One of the things I didn’t expect to see was a desire for separation between my boys. They get along great, but now Quincy is expressing his desire to have a circle of friends in the neighborhood that doesn’t include his little brother. While that won’t happen since Hayden is popular amongst the kids and they all like to play, swim and ride bikes together, it does mean that we’ll have to be more deliberate in getting Quincy together with other children who share his interests. That will be our mission going into the fall.

Speaking of fall, I’ll have a kindergartner this year. Hayden is over the moon excited to go elementary school and I’m not sure who will cry more, my wife or me. She’ll cry because he’s her baby and she can’t let him go. I’ll cry because he’s been the child who has been the closest to me. He’s a small version of me.

Now that we’re back in school mode, I invite you to check out some of the great stories we have on school and education in this issue. Our Family Money columnist Nikki Ducas talks about her decision to homeschool. Our Ages & Stages column delves into ways your high school senior can finish strong. Chancellor High School music director Ryan Addair talks about the value of music education. And we dive into creative ways to pack a healthy lunch.

I hope you and your family finish summer well. Cheers to success for your kids on a new school year.

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Pouches' Community Corner

Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area Splash EventMassadYMCA

For the past seven years, Smart Beginnings has thrown the Splash Pool Party fundraiser. This summer, the event will be held on June 24, 2018 from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Steve & Cheri Thurston Water Park at the Massad Family YMCA. Tickets range in price from $12 for a single ticket, $20 for couples and $35 for a family/group of four and each ticket also covers a hot dog, bag of chips and a drink.