Friday, August 2, 2013
The kids have spent the summer in the "big pool" swimming long course team. It is a great change for them as they rethink and train their bodies for these longer races. We had a huge meet out in the hot sun over three days. The kids enjoyed the swims and the downtime with friends spent playing cards and eating. My how much swimmers do eat! The little ones were sick so Patrick and I took turns at home with them. We all learned some things over that weekend. Sean learned the importance of flip-turns. I learned he has quite the competitive side (just who is that screaming like a maniac kid on the relay team?) Sarah learned how to better pace her stroke and breathing on the breast stroke so she doesn't look like a hamster in a wheel, as her coach said. Luke learned it is hard to leave a swim meet for scout camp, but was glad he did...scout camp involved lots of fun as well. It also had him on the winning canoe race team!
Patrick and I weren't together for our 15th anniversary. I was up in Cleveland with the kids and he was back working and getting ready to head on his mission trip to Bolivia. Seeing as he is the thoughtful, romantic in our relationship, and I generally think of beer as a great gift for him, I decided to surprise him with a getaway trip when we returned. I planned a trip to the mountains for us, and once I had childcare arranged and things packed up, I headed up to Boone, NC to pick him up from his day at the office up there. We then hit an Indian food restaurant for lunch (what a treat), and then headed to Linville Falls for some hiking. It was a lovely day with plenty of sun, which is rare here this summer (unfortunately). A long, romantic, hand-held hike, it was not. We had people chuckling along the path, as we raced from lookout-point to lookout-point. Some box-jumps on stumps and racing led to a sweaty hike, but it was really a fun time. Then we headed to Asheville, via a long-cut and some repeated sights, but we got there eventually. We spent the night at the Grand Bohemian hotel which was really eclectic and fun. We walked to a great dinner, had a great breakfast the next morning, and then hit the Vanderbilt Mansion. It was beautiful and amazing, and gigantic. Our tour through the home resembled the hike the day before. We were running through the home and passing people on all sides. (Patrick wasn't nearly as amazed at the home as I was...."yeah, yeah, another bedroom...") We made to the Basilica of St. Lawrence for noon Mass and then headed to downtown Asheville for some lunch. We arrived home to one sick child (everyone else had been sick before we left). And then Lucy proceeded to flood the bathroom at bath time and water made its way to the basement. But we remained remarkably calm through it all. It is blessing what a little quiet, relaxing, alone time can do!
Friday, July 12, 2013
Well, here we are at the half-way point of summer. I had fully intended to back to school full time by now. Yeah....that isn't going to happen. Due to the near back-to-back arrivals of Lucy and Thomas, my bigger kids haven't had a true summer break in years. They seem to be soaking up the fun of summertime, and I have decided to gently ease back learning. We will do math, piano, and reading everday starting yesterday. They are swimming 4 mornings a week, so we have to count that too, I suppose. And that leaves lots of time for summer fun. We had playdates at our house 3 days this past week. Sarah attended a week of sleep-away summer camp the week before (LOVED IT!). Sarah, Sean, and Max have science camp following swim team everyday this week. Luke has boy scout camp the week after that. Our best friends from San Antonio come to town the week after that. We celebrate 4 birthdays nearly in a row following that. And then Luke and Sarah hit to the skies to head up to Connecticut to visit their cousins for a week. So school should be back in full-swing by the end of August. Just like it is for most "normal school kids" I guess. I will try to hit science and art with kids before then....but grammar, latin, history.....the end of August it will be. The kids are elated at this, and I keep looking at a daunting to-do list that needs done before packing and moving start in earnest. (Just a few miles down the road folks!) So here are a few more scenes from a summer well-spent.
In mid-June we headed up to Cleveland for our nephew's wedding. We had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends. Patrick returned home shortly after the wedding to work for a week and then to head to Bolivia for a mission trip. Seeing as the kids and I had no big plans for the week, we stayed for those 2 weeks up in Cleveland with Grandma and Grandpa. We sure missed Daddy, but we had a fun, busy, busy time. We went to the zoo several times, Swings-n-things, the homes of some relatives, Cedar Point, various parks around town, and the Science Center. Each of the big kids had an individual date with mom. It was really fun to share undivided time with them doing something they each chose. We made many happy memories, and left Grandma and Grandpa very tired. Actually, Grandpa drove us back home to NC as he was worried about us driving all that way without and extra set of adult hands. It was a good thing he came with us, as fatigue hit for me about 30 miles outside of Cleveland. Apparently I wasn't getting enough sleep on our stay, so I was able to catch-up a bit in the car on the ride home. I can't image how I would have made the drive without my Dad!
We are so proud of Luke and his accomplishments. He received his Confirmation this year. We are hoping the Lord continues to bless him and fill him with His Spirit. Luke now enters the world as a soldier for God. We were so happy Father Buettner was Luke's teacher this year in Faith Formation, especially since he was just reassigned to a new parish. Luke has learned so much with Father in our lives. St. Joseph Cupertino (Luke's confirmation saint)....Pray for us!
Sean celebrated his 7th birthday in June. Good friends from Charleston happened to be visiting, and they helped us to celebrate. Sean was so pleased and everyone seemed to enjoy our lego party. I cannot believe Sean is already 7! This has been a busy year for him. He is quite the swimmer and his piano skills are improving. He is an avid reader, who conquered The Hobbit this year amongst other books. He is turning into a social butterfly with friends from swimming and siblings of the big kids' friends coming over to play often. He spent time at Cub Scout camp this summer, and despite hunger, tiredness, and homesickness (it was a day camp...Sean is just a homebody), he enjoyed himself. I was thankful that Luke decided to help out at Cub Scout camp so that Sean would have a sibling there and could enjoy himself more without feeling too lonely. (Symptom of life in a big family I guess....they are used to being together all the time). This year will prove a big step for him academically as he attempts some online classes this year. Oh how thankful we are for Sean. He is our quiet, thinker, sensitive child. We are so happy we have him.
Well we've been flying through summer. Here is our reading plans....plus reading for the library reading competition. I intend to sit with each of the kids next week and create a master booklist of all the quality books they have read over their lifetimes. We won't include "popcorn books". I wish I would have been diligent about this starting in about 2nd grade for each of them. We'll see how our flashback works.
Our Math stash
Our Math stash