We've been hard at work on school for the last three weeks, and now that we seem to be getting our routine down, I've had a little time to reflect on our summer. In many ways it was the best summer I've ever had.
For the first time in many, many years I don't have a little baby around. While I would very much welcome a new little blessing into our family, I also want to joyfully embrace each season of life that the Lord has for me.
This summer I experienced God's grace in my life in my life as I was able to slow down and focus on the many simple blessings bestowed here. I am rich, indeed!
We went blueberry picking .....
were able to sing together as a family at a church that Tom spoke at,
At the end of June, Nate, who is in the Army, stationed in NY, was able to come home for a visit! You would think that with 10 children still at home, I might not miss the two that are gone so much. I'm here to tell you that it's not true. Definitely not true.
While Nate was here, we celebrated his 19th birthday a few weeks early with our fabled Black Forest Cheesecake. I'll put on my list to share the recipe here sometime. It's about as close to gourmet cooking as I'll ever get. If you really want gourmet, you'll have to go visit my friend Lisa's blog, Elbows on Our Table,. or The Pioneer Woman, ... but I digress.....
Having adult children who love the Lord is the most fabulous thing.... I find myself totally humbled and grateful. And yes, I do miss them. But I already said that, didn't I?
The boys had a blast this summer, just being boys! Don't you love these little guys our boys created? I'm telling you, no piece of hardware is safe around here.
Slingshots have been really big around here of late. (All windows still intact at last check!)
The cooler and wetter than normal summer resulted in a bounty of flowers and veggies too. I must admit that I am totally unpractical and I really do love the flowers best! (shhhh, don't tell my poor veggie garden!)
And here is a picture of one of the many tomatoes harvested here (just so the veggie garden won't be too upset with my for posting all the flower pictures!)
Our oldest (and now married daughter) Micah was able to make a surprise trip up here in August. We had so much together~ worked on scrapbooking etc. I love having so many ages of children to relate to!
This summer was unique for me in that I had lots of time to exercise! Almost every day I rode my bike for 13 miles at a nearby lake. Early morning rides are my favorite~ totally love praying and watching the sun rise over the lake as I ride.
Don't ask how I took the next picture.... the boys saw this one and reprimanded me for taking it! Interesting perspective though, don't you think?
Some end-of-the-summer flowers at the lake...
And could it be officially summer without the boys finding varied and asundry wildlife? Love Jon's expression here with the box turtle!
Jacob found a little Goldfinch. I think it must have hit one of our windows. Poor little birds do that with some regularity here~ and it's not because my windows are perfectly clean, either!
I think the highlight of our summer for our family was a trip to Gulf Shores, AL. Many, many years we have vacationed there with my parents. Our preference is to go once schools are in session as the beach area where we stay is deserted then.
This year, after lots of preparation (the girls and I precook all of our meals so I get a little vacation there as well) we were almost done packing when little Tim fell off of his favorite riding toy and cut his chin open!
So the afternoon before we left I spent several hours in the local children's hospital urgent care center while he received 5 stitches. With nine active boys, I have been there more the last year than I care to admit. This time I was offered "frequent flier miles" with Children's Mercy Hospital!
This visit was funny though as Tim wasn't upset about the whole deal at all. The poor nurse was ready to strap him down for the doctor and I told her "I don't think you'll need to do that." She gave me the "whatever!" look, but said that she'd let him try it before she wrapped him up. I guess two-year-olds aren't usually the most cooperative patients for receiving stitches.
Tim was so relaxed during the stitching up that he actually yawned. The nurse looked at me in amzement and said, "Do you guys do yoga together, or something?" So funny! Me, "Um, noooo."
Actually I don't think I can take credit for his good behavior~ but I am grateful! Here he is right afterwards as we waited for Tom to pick us up. Funny boy!
Then we were off to the ocean! Here we all are, minus Micah and her husband Josh, and Nate, all of whom were unable to be with us this year. sigh. Change can be sad. We forced ourselves to have a good time anyway!
Timmy had a blast playing in the sand~ it was fun to watch him being so delighted in his new surroundings.
Look what we found on one of our walks down the beach... the fabled angel fish! (see the wings?)
We were totally blessed and surprised to see a rainbow~ amazingly it lasted for at least a half an hour!
A double rainbow, even!
I was delighted to be able to have my quiet time outside on the porch...
This was my view....
One final evening walk on the beach to say "goodbye" to the ocean...
And now we're back home... working hard at school this year. I'm really excited about some new things we're doing in school. I'll try to share some of them later this week.
In closing, I thought you might like to see some pics of "the boys"... the last six of our children are boys, so I frequently find these guys together, up to something! You know how groups of animals have different names, like a flock of geese, or a herd of deer? I decided that my little boys should be called a "brevey" of boys.
Here's what I saw on our front porch a few days ago... the brevey of boys.... ok Tim's not in these, not sure what he was up to, but he finds his way into so many of my pics, so that it's ok.
And another one of them hamming it up in the kitchen... so fun!
Delighting in life here and the many gifts given...