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Friday, August 7, 2015

Na na na na...Hey Hey-ey...Goodbye...

That's about what I think of our summer! It's come and gone. Here's what's been going on:

Reading Robinson Crusoe, a shorter version. 
We have a had a full but good summer. God has given us a restful summer with the busy being fun busy, family busy, and preparation for good things ahead busy. I often fall into the trap of feeling sorry for myself being tired or struggling with little childish spats, but I am so blessed to have had a summer of protection and goodness. Today, Alden asked me, "What if the baby dies?", and I can't help but always feel a twinge when one of the kids asks that. My heart cries out for that not to be so, but I answer, "Then that's what God had planned." Then Alden said, "But why would God make him in the first place?", and I answered, "We all die. God made him because He loves him." What questions! We have quite a handful of friends and family struggling with cancer and difficult medical problems, and today, I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. This world will be better one day, and I'm thankful that our family has experienced the goodness and restfulness of it this summer.

Practicing shooting arrows at a church event that Trail Life went to.
Sailing at Lake Crabtree with Trail Life.

Trail Life has been such a blessing for Alden and Wally. The group actively seeks to disciple boys using God's Word to tie into the lessons and experiences they have. It is a special time for them, and Corwin can't wait to be able to do it when he is 5!

Wally saw that Alden had taken off on reading longer passages, and he pulled out all of his old chapter books. Most of them are too advanced for Alden and some are too mature. I had to quickly weed those out amidst some tears!

A drawing by Alden inspired by the book, Hatchet. I had to nix the book b/c it was too mature for him.
And in BIG news, Corwin finally decided to pump for himself. Swinging on his own has become a favorite activity for him, and
he often would run out first thing in the morning in his pj's to swing until breakfast was ready! The entire family is glad of this since
we were his pushing slaves beforehand.

Rhianwen did a nice job at her end of year harp recital. I am always so impressed at how calmly she plays in front of others.

To celebrate the end of our school year, the kids wanted to roast hotdogs and camp in the backyard. The date coincided with Wally's birthday, so we had a double celebration. Uncle Christopher and Aunt Hannah came over to make it a full on party!

Roasting hot dogs with a hot dog. Hardy har...
Happy birthday Wally/daddy! Yes, we've gotten to the we-probably-shouldn't-put-so-many-candles-on-the-cake stage.
Excited to be camping on their treehouse!
I can't help posting a pic of each of our cuties.
Yeah, this guy isn't going to sleep.
The adults stayed out on the deck for a long while as it got dark. The air was full of fireflies...it is so incredibly magical that time of year! The kids didn't get to sleep until 11pm, but they did enjoy the light show and then stayed out there all night!

We can't deny them ice cream all of the time. Occasionally, we break the vegan for a summer treat.
I was Alden's group leader this year at VBS. All of the kids had a fabulous time learning about Jonah and God's eagerness to draw us to Him and to forgive.
Then it was off to Virginia and Brice's rehearsal dinner (yay, BBQ and cornhole) and wedding.
And yay for cousies! Note the boot shaped cozies that are now being used as boots...sort of.

Back at Grandmama's picking blueberries.
These are huge bushes!
Enjoying Strawberry Peach slushies at the Bush-N-Vine in York, SC.
On an old retired tractor.
Feeding the chickens some blades of grass.
Aw, yes. In a way, I did. Wally worked here growing up, so I'd say his work here was part of what made him who he is, and who he is is what I was attracted to, and so we got married. :0)

Playing in the big sandbox at Bush-N-Vine.

Trying to find the queen bee. Bush-N-Vine is so much fun, and it's only seconds down the road from Grandmama's. Plus it is the ONLY place I get good peaches all summer long. Wish I had a farm like that near here!

All dressed up for a wedding!
Saying hi to cousin Ezekiel.
How I managed to have no pictures of the bride and groom, is maybe beyond me, although, I have to say, kids do tend to steal the limelight for my camera!

Alden's friend, Miles, introduced him to the game of chess, and so daddy decided to play/teach him a bit more. I didn't notice my camera was on sparkle setting until a few more pictures later! HA! Queue Harry Potter.
Corwin helping me make a flag cake for July 4th.

We celebrated with the Carter family. It's becoming a tradition. So thankful for these dear friends!
Finn LOVED the fireworks. He was impressed with Wally's skills later in the evening.

The kids went crazy running under the smoke of the smoke bombs.
Ready to watch the legal and semi-impressive firework show.
Fireman Corwin. This is why it's so hard to get rid of toys, not that I'd want to get rid of our marble run. But they always find other uses for things that are just too cute.

Blasting a water bottle rocket. Alden learned the skill at Trail Life and the boys have used way too much water experimenting with this at home!

Picking tomatoes with Aunt Hannah. Our garden yielded unexpected things thanks to seeds in our compost...such as pumpkins from last October and butternut squash!

Thanks to Aunt Hannah, Rhi had her hair french braided for the little finale show of Frozen dance camp. I am proud to say, I did it for the second show later in the month thanks to Hannah's patient teaching! I have braided the incorrect way all my life, which makes it doubly hard to do. It's possible to French braid that way, but way easier to do it the normal way, except that I feel all thumbs doing it the opposite way of what I normally do! Rhi never had the patience to sit through all that torture, but thankfully, I did it in 5 minutes...so she was ok with it.

Rhianwen was an assistant in 2 Frozen dance camps at NC Dance Institute this summer, and of course she had a blast! I'm thankful for a studio that gives her so many opportunities to learn and assist in her own ways. 

Helping the littles remember their routine.
Posing with her brothers who really LOVE to watch her, even the same show twice.

Ta daaa!

For Alden's birthday, he wanted a rock climbing party. I don't think he realized until a couple of days before that he actually was going to get to climb at a real climbing gym instead of a party at home.
The kids climbed for almost 2 hours with a small break for cake. They loved it!
Rhi made it to the top of this particular climb.
And so did Alden.

He feels so cool.
Happy birthday! He is 7!
Erector set. 
A happy birthday to our Aldi-man. He loves Minecraft, so that was a small theme for the party at home.

Alden has been wanting his own weather station, and now he's become the weather man for us each day. It stays at his place at the dining table, and he checks it each meal. He even took it to York for his visit with the grandparents.
Excited to get a Minecraft Lego set.
Bringing Rhianwen's creative gift for Alden. She spent the week at Grandmama's and Grandaddy's so missed Alden's actual birthday.
Hannah and Christopher made it for Chinese food and peach pie (per Alden's request). Yes, summer celebrations have put quite a dent in our whole foods plant-based diet.
A big giant rope, which daddy soon after commandeered to help pull down a tree in the backyard that split and had to be cut down. You can see even Uncle Christopher is trying to grab it right out of the birthday boy's hands. What is it about guys and ropes?
Alden has grown in so many ways this year. He's losing teeth and keeping us quite busy. His poor tooth fairy even did not show up one night. Thankfully, the kids love the letters explaining just what misadventures occurred to prevent their tooth fairies from coming the first night! He is really enjoying reading now. Although he is not a completely smooth reader, he loves it and is in the midst of multiple chapter books right now. Swiss Family Robinson is a favorite right now. He and Corwin can be co-conspirators or adversaries, but always in that brotherly kind of way. Big brother trying to take over for little brother, little brother trying to take advantage of the parents' expectations for big brother to set the good example. He loves Rhianwen so very much and can get teary if she spends most of the day not playing with him, but now that books have become a larger part of his life, he has a good way to deal with that. He enjoys constructing as always, and loves Minecraft as an arm of that joy. We struggle knowing how much to let them do games, but he does 1h on Saturdays and looks forward to it all week! We pray that he will grow in love for Christ. I think nature really appeals to his spiritual sensitivities. He often make comments about God when talking about or experiencing the beauty of it.

We had some wrens build a nest in my hanging geraniums and got to see the babies grow and flutter off.
The kids enjoyed painting this summer. This is Alden's Indian in a big lightning storm!

And this is Corwin's tour de force.
Back in York at Grandmama and Grandaddy's with Uncle Brooks and Ezekiel and Mary Ruth. 

Grandmama and Grandaddy were sweet enough to take ALL of our kids for a few days and Rhi for a whole week! Wally and I enjoyed a babymoon at home making lofts for the kids, sewing curtains, and going out on dates to celebrate 14 years of marriage. Then we went to York for the weekend to celebrate Clara's birthday, go to Chelsea v Paris St. Germain soccer, and, oh yeah, get the kids back. 
A birthday picnic for Aunt Clara.
At home, Pippin and the kids found some baby rabbits in the yard. Sadly, I think some met their demise, b/c a few days later Alden came in and said, "Mommy, I found a paw in the garden!" I thought he misspoke and meant to say paw print, but sure enough, it was a rabbit paw. Ick ick ick! And I had to remove it so Pippin wouldn't eat it.
We've had a great summer. Lots of reading and swimming too. The kids redeemed their library points the other day. Summer is really winding down. Fall dance has started, and our calendar is filling up with routine again. We'll start school hopefully on the 17th, then the next week take a trip to the beach camping...yikes! Pray we won't die from sharks or the heat. Thankfully it will be very near my parents', so I, at least, can use the pregnancy card to bail and spend some time in their AC. I've never camped at the beach before and never camped pregnant before. So we will see!

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