Friday, August 1, 2008

Me and My House

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Time for another family update:

We got back Sunday night from a wonderful week at Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks (NY). For the second time we shared a 12 bedroom house with 19 cousins, 9 (of 12) parents, and 5 grandparents. The house is just ten feet from the water, so we were kept busy with fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, rowboating, sailing (sensing a theme here?), and windboarding. We enjoyed jumping off Tommy's Rock, rafting whitewater on the Hudson River, climbing Whiteface Mountain, playing bingo, watching a slide show (remember those?), stargazing (it's really dark there!) and staying up much too late. We have pretty much recovered from the week and the 13 hour drive home (whew!).

Len is enjoying a busy summer at the veterinary clinic. And being Len, he's busy in his off hours, too. His current project is building a shelter for the generator he recently set up at his parents' house. The generator is important because there is plenty of medical equipment in the house in an older neighborhood with big trees and above ground power lines, but apparently it is not supposed to run during heavy rainfall, hence the shelter.

I must also acclaim my husband as a master packer. While he prefers the less is more approach regarding what to bring, he managed to fit A LOT of stuff into/onto our 8 seat minivan (LOVE my Sienna!) for the Saranac trip: 2 kayaks, lifejackets, electric guitar, electric bass, 8 people and a week's worth of luggage, plus some groceries. He really got creative. The night before departure, as he took bags of food out for pre-packing he asked if it was okay to not keep it all together, which of course was fine with me. Well, when I opened the van door to drive away, I found three cans of corn in the driver's side door pocket! The passenger door held a jar of salsa and bag of granola. A little drawer held (in addition to my sunglasses) a bag of bread crumbs. Onions were scattered about the interior of the vehicle. You get the picture. Thankfully, after an hour we reached my sister's house and rearranged passengers for the convoy north. David was able to get the bass off his lap, and Lauren found some leg room.

I'm over my typical late spring burnout, and am excited to be planning school again. Lauren will be away (sniff), David and Daniel will be at Trinity, and I'll just have three at home. Inspired by two friends, I have some planners to replace the checklists we've used for many years. They look great for both organizing and inspiring. This year we'll cover flying creatures in zoology, medieval history, and continue with our math progress. I want to use the Signing Times dvds for Rebecca, and spend more time outside this year. As usual, we'll enjoy lots of books on cd. (I can't sit and read aloud without falling asleep.) I've even updated our prismacolor pencil set to enjoy for our art co-op and drawing during nature time at the pond.

I recently knit and felted a potholder. It was a short but interesting project. Now I'm trying to make a copy of a sweater I already own. With some coaching I've done plenty of figuring and refiguring. There has been a fair amount of knitting, but unfortunately almost the same amount of un-knitting. This was to be a summer project, but my chances for the Tuesday night classes are dwindling...

Lauren is busy keeping in touch with her friends (pool, movies, visiting) and preparing for college. We've done a little shopping together, but her grandmother is the one who took her on the major aquisiton expedition. The countdown continues (16 days)...

David is working at the local bike shop, mostly as a mechanic. He's spent his first several days fixing flat tires, replacing inner tubes, and assembling bikes. He's going to learn a lot. Mom likes the fact that the shop is close enough to bike to--yay! Soon enough he'll have his learner's permit and it will be time to teach our first teenaged BOY how to drive.

Daniel will be going to Trinity for 8th grade this year. Right now he's working hard to catch up on the first (of four!) year of Latin before school starts. We did some at home this year, but nowhere near enough... Daniel (with Len) is progressing towards his upcoming Confirmation. He is involved with a ConQuest boys club, which is fun and has also kept him progressing and maturing in his faith life. At the end-of-year campout he received (regional) awards for character and for exemplifying club ideals.

Joseph has a new violin teacher and is a great cheerleader and example for Rebecca. He is going to be the student leader at home for the next two years. Joe recently passed his latest tae kwon do test and is now a blue belt. He is hoping to join Boy Scouts this fall.

Marianna isn't even home now--she went straight from Saranac Lake to Mimi and Granddad's. She's having a special week there with her favorite cousin from Florida, and will transfer back to us at my cousins' NJ beach house in a few days. She sounds so happy on the phone, and today even professed to miss the brother she argues with the most. She doesn't know it yet, but I'm going to try to teach her to sew this year (while Joe and Becca are at violin). Her reading has really blossomed, too; she's currently immersed in her third Narnia book.

Becca is FINALLY POTTY TRAINED! This intelligent and incredibly articulate (You should have heard her when she was two!) child could have done it a year ago, but was just not motivated--not resistant, just uninterested. I am an experienced parent with many skills, but facilitating bathroom independence does not seem to be one of them. Rebecca is turning four in November, so her schooling will gradually get more formal. I want to browse through Elizabeth's Serendipity site for ideas, but Becca will also learn a lot by hanging out with the rest of us. She loves to draw and "write", so I'll try to make sure she gets in the habit of holding the pencil properly.

This has been a very long-winded installment of "Me and My House". My mother will not be pleased that I am once again up past my official 10:00 (hah!) bedtime. Sorry, Mom, the time marker records when the post is started. And if I want to I can write down any time I want there, anyway. So now I'll exclaim as I climb the stairs out of sight, "Happy August to all, and to all a good night!"

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