The busiest summer–(until next year)

Unless the Lord says differently, this has been/ will be our summer:

Weeks 1 and 2: preparation for this year’s dance recital

Week 3:  oldest in class for PSAT review

Week 4 (this week): oldest away at camp

Week 5:  oldest in class for PSAT review, part II

 Week 6: son at National Dance competition

Week 7: VBS

Week 8:         (can you believe it?—nothing to do!!)

Week 9:  begin school(?)

There are at least two aspects of this schedule that have become my latest musings.   The first is pondering how, every summer, I make a declaration that we are just going to rest, and every summer, we are busier than the summer before.   I wonder if I stated, “This summer, we’re going to be busier than ever!” would we actually have nothing to do?    I might try that next spring.   Right now, however, what this schedule means is that we will potentially have only one “do nothing” week, which also happens to contain my husband’s birthday, before school would start.   I intentionally wanted to start earlier this year because my goal is to finish school early enough to get outside in late April/ early May before it gets too hot.   The older two weren’t totally in agreement with this, but then again, they’re not the ones that do the lion’s share of weeding, mulching, and watering during the blazing heat.   Now I’m not sure if my plan will work.    Rest is important to academics, too, and we’ve not had much of it as far as I can tell.    

The other realization I’ve had, as we left the oldest waaaaaayyy out west yesterday, is that this is the first time we’ve been apart from any of the children for an extended period of time.    On the bittersweet ride back home yesterday, past endless windmills and mesquite trees, I thought about a family favorite of ours, Disney’s “College Road Trip” (Martin Lawrence, Raven Symone.)   

At the end of the movie, as Raven’s character waves goodbye from behind the opened door of her dormitory, her parents fight back tears, and memories of childhood past flash through their minds as they return a final wave—for a while.   Were we experiencing a glimpse of what we’ll go through in a couple more years?    I think so.     And though she politely ushered us out of the door so that she could begin her week as a semi-grown up, she missed us, too.    During our 10-hour drive back, she texted twice, then called twice, saying the latter time, “Would you like me to talk you until you get home?”   (We were 5 hours away from our driveway at the time).     I couldn’t help but laugh at how irritated she gets when little brother and sister make an unannounced visit into her room, and yet, what does she do with her first opportunity to be alone?   She calls home, and talks with little sister.   Priceless.

When I’m not playing taxi cab/ head cheerleader for all these efforts, I have had a little time to think about next school year, and to even make a decision or two (smile).    The oldest had asked about learning home management skills—how to cook, complete the laundry cycle, etc.     I began to try and formalize this into a Home Economics course on last year, but it never materialized.    It probably won’t happen this year, either, at least not in a formal sense.   We will pull in some Dave Ramsey and/or Larry Burkett materials on personal finances, but I think that, for the most part, we’ll learn to manage a home by managing our home.   The biggest dilemma I’m having in this area is how to teach cooking to someone who doesn’t eat.      So much of good cooking is about intuition and instinct regarding taste, flavor, and pleasurable textures on the tongue.  Based on my own childhood experiences, I’ve had to fight the demons that cause food to be so much more than food—it was comfort, it was companionship, and it was love.  For our oldest, food is what food should be—sustenance to allow her to get on with the priorities of her day.    For that and a couple of other reasons, her diet is fairly restrictive; how do I turn her into a cook?    What I’ve thought about doing so far is to work with the things she likes and make sure she can prepare those;  artistry will come with time.

Otherwise, I’ve been gathering books and book ideas, and pulling projects into the kids’ studies for next school year.   It’s shaping into another fun learning time (at least, I think so.)    I’m also in thought/ prayer about joining a homeschool group again—not for the sake of the group, but for the sake of our youngest daughter, who needs to get out, and to do something different than what she currently does.    Of course, this could happen in a myriad of ways, and that’s the part that I’m prayerful about;  a homeschool group is not a homeschool group is not a homeschool group, and I am definitely not decided that we need some of the more negative aspects of a group in the effort to have more play days and field trips.   Somewhere in the midst of all this busy-ness I will have to carve out some thinking/ praying/ meditating time.   So much needs to be more carefully thought through than I have time to do right now, but I plow along.

I suppose frustration would be an easy space to crawl into right now, but I make the conscious effort to be thankful.    So, in the midst of all of this, I’m thankful that…

1)      We had resources to do all the items listed above

2)      Where resources looked limited, God provided abundantly (I’m still speaking that)

3)      Dad has been able to travel with us, and has worked from home on several days this summer

4)      We spent a safe and fun Father’s Day on the road, and returned safely on yesterday (also speaking that trip #2 will be the same or better)

5)      Today I will sleep as much as I want to (Hallelujah!)

6)      I saw the one corner of Texas that I’d not seen before

7)      I was asked to take on some additional work that won’t require too much time

8)      Our okra is growing like crazy

9)      With dance season over (for the most part), we can attend mid-week service

10)   Next dance season, class times were adjusted such that we can continue to attend mid-week services

11)   Whatever happens over this summer, busy or not, we serve a great God.

That’s a very small, non-exhaustive list.   Hope you feel the same way when you jot yours down.

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6 thoughts on “The busiest summer–(until next year)

  1. My oldest is at camp this week, too, but only about 2 hrs away. One of the leaders sends updates to FB a couple times a day so I’ve gotten to “see” my boy on pics. LOL
    Oh, and my husband is at camp with him all week, so he’s not there “alone” in the world.

    I did not know how to cook when I got married. Food is just food to me (unless I have a pregnant craving). I would say the best way to teach your daughter to cook is to let her work alongside you in the kitchen. Give her guidelines for menu planning and let her “fill in the blanks” for the week’s menu. Have her do the grocery shopping list and find the items at the store. Let her do the cutting, slicing and chopping and bite your lip when you want to tell her she is doing it “wrong.” She’ll learn her own style. (My mom ran me out of the kitchen ’cause I wasn’t doing it “right”) Cook together. Have her smell the herbs and spices and taste the difference it makes to add them in.

    Laundry…..she is old enough to do her own. ’nuff said.

    Anyhow, I hope you find some time to focus your mind and prayers and get the answers you need before plowing into the new year. You are blessed!

    1. Tracy wrote:
      Cook together. Have her smell the herbs and spices and taste the difference it makes to add them in.

      This is a fabulous idea. Only problem is she starts to cough and gag when she’s around various smells on the stove! LOL!!!

      With a mom who worked nights, I’ve been cooking since I was 10 (though quality is questionable).

      We’ll get there–you encourage me, my friend.

  2. wow you do have a busy summer. This summer I am getting ready for a lot of things but they don’t happen till later. Well there is one thing that is during the summer. My sister who hasn’t made it up to Canada in the almost 20 years I have been in Canada is coming in July ! ((happy dance))

    When you talked about the good and bad of hs groups. I have no real idea b/c there really isn’t one where we live. What is here I have had no desire to really participate. Most hs’er in our area are not christian and very waldorf. Soo we are on our own. I am glad your are blogging here again. ((hugs))

    PS: I can’t wait to see your poem. [0=

  3. I’m SO Glad I found you! My friends seemed to just disappear when they changed the blogging format.

    Glad to hear of your success.

    We had our oldest left at home (17yos) graduate this year and is headed on to college soon. He’s been my toughest one. lol

    I still can’t drive because of my seizures, but hubby bought us an above ground pool, and we are spending our days in that and on the trampoline. We’ve been doing nature notebooks and plan to do many more around the neighborhood.

    I’m just so happy I found you!


  4. OK, I can’t find where to email you so here it is….
    Is she a drama queen? I had to ask. 🙂
    I have found that for my boy who is sensitive to smells that if I give him a piece of gum to chew while say, cutting up an onion. It seems to help him cope with the smells. Just include her with the things you can and she can handle. And maybe no spice sniffing, LOL!

    Also, I must know, what kind of planner is that you are using…it looks very interesting!

    1. A drama queen? Well, there’s a taste of that for sure (smile). But she also seems to have some allergies that we can’t nail down; the closest I can get to it is that it might be tied to milk and sinus drainage. The coughing/ gagging/ sensitivity to smells seems to be more pronounced when she’s had milk. I have not let her drink milk, which seems to be working, but I have a girlfriend who uses rice milk with her children–we might try that. Anyway, you have a great point that I will take to heart.

      I got the planners from You could probably feel my pain on this one–there are no attractive, or even decent, planners for boys! My daughter would find these beautiful floral or paisley patterns for her work, and our son would either have to to with an adult daytimer, or get something that was very dull and dry. I downloaded templates to make him a planner once, but decided quickly that I was in over my head. So last year, I found this company on the Internet. They are in the business of selling planners to schools, but they also offer individual planners. Last year I got one for our son, but this year, I got two for the older kids. Mine are 8-1/2×11, making it easier to tuck in extra papers, but they also sell them in the 5-1/2×8-1/2 size. I hope this helps.

I'd love to hear your two cents!!