Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The countdown until school...

Wow, what a summer.  Our sweet helper Charissa left last Thursday after spending a month helping me with the kids.  Her last week we had two other visitors from our Atlanta youth group.  It was a fun week.  I haven't gotten out my camara a lot this summer, but here are a few other memories that I  captured.

We took our neighbor to the science center for a fun day.
Lydie learned to swim underwater recently.  She has to pop up for air, so she still can't hang out in the deep end.  But she is going under like a fish, a big improvement for her.  I still did not get her to swim lessons...maybe this winter at the YMCA?
The boys loved the high dive at the public pool in town.  The kids went with Charissa to the pool a lot this summer.  Good times.

This past weekend we hosted two families from Atlanta at our lakehouse for the weekend.  It was Jack's birthday.  So on Saturday we had other friends and family over for his party.  Such good memories!  I cannot believe my oldest son is 12 and going into middle school this year.  I am so proud of him.  He is an amazing kid.

Now we are fully focused on getting ready for school.  I am still working a lot in my classroom.  The kids have uniforms and backpacks on the way.  Today we are buying shoes and socks.  And summer review work and reading are in progress.  In less than 2 weeks summer break will be over and we will be part of a school!  We are almost ready and so excited.  The kids met their teachers at an event called "Popsicles at the Playground", and I met my students.  That night made us all really excited for this year.
Lydie all ready for Popsicles at the Playground!

Life is about to change tremendously for us.  We cannot wait!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sweet confirmation

I only have a moment, so I know I won't be able to write all that is on my mind.  But I wanted to document here what a joy this summer has been as I have been preparing for school.  Sometimes in life we pray and pray, and ultimately we just do not know with 100% certainty what to do.  So we do our best and step out in faith that God will see us through.  (And He does, of course.)  And sometimes we forget to pray or we act in selfishness or haste and make mistakes.  And those lead to consequences and difficulties.  BUT, sometimes, we pray and we know without a shadow of a doubt that God is pointing us in a certain direction.  I like those times.  And this teaching job was one of those.
God has confirmed that this is His will for me in so many huge ways this summer.  The biggest is the way he brought our lovely, sweet friend Charissa to stay with us this month.  We didn't even ask her to come, she asked if she could come and help.  And she has truly made this month wonderful for all of us.  I have been gone some days from 8-5 working in my classroom or at the school for meetings.  This time away would be such a disappointment for my children who have never had to deal with me working outside the home.  But Charissa has eased this burden for them by playing with them, taking them out for ice cream and swimming, and in so many other ways.  She has truly felt like a part of our family and we all love her so much.  My daughter tells her every day that she loves her.  I keep pinching myself.  The entire month of July she has/will be here...and I didn't even have to search for her!  God just brought her to us!  Can you believe it??
Lydie's new sidekick, the boys new friend, and my life saver!
Besides that enormous blessing, I am enjoying the preparation for the school year so much!  There really aren't words for how blessed and excited I feel.  I love the other teachers, many of whom are my age and stage.  (Women who are both my age and stage in life have been extremely hard for me to come by since I moved.)  Also, the staff challenges me with their passion for learning (and teaching).  I could write a book about all that I have learned.  This group of men and women are so godly, brilliant, and funny!  I love their company and really look forward to their friendship.  It feels amazing to be part of a team-this team.  God has fulfilled a deep desire for me by giving me these people!  And the anticipation of meeting the children is so exciting!  I cannot wait!
My husband and children are all so happy for me.  Well, Lydie is a little more self-centered, typical five year old.  But Charissa is doing a great job loving on her when I am gone.  But Andy and the boys have been amazingly supportive and excited about all that I am bringing home and talking about.  I have had to keep paper and pencil by the bed because I wake up at night with ideas or questions.  It's kind of crazy.
I am so excited for the adventure of another week.  Praying for discernment in the juggling of it all.  And praying prayers of gratitude for the wonderful things God has orchestrated for us.  Wow!

"And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you."
Psalm 9:10

Monday, July 16, 2012

The wonderful vacation (all pictures taken by my phone)

We seem to do so much better when we are thrown into things.  This trip to the beach was a wonderful week.  We played and rested, while enjoying the best beach weather ever!  The weather was in the 80s all week, with a couple of afternoon showers.  The seaweed was almost non existent.  And the water was beautiful.
We spent a lot of time with my brother's family.  My cousin's family was staying at the same resort, as well, and it was fun to run into them at the pool or beach.  And my parents came for a couple of days.  So the kids had so much fun with playmates. 

We enjoyed long hours on the beach and in the ocean, and many hours at the pools.  This resort has a water slide down on the sand, lots of pools, and a restaurant and bar right by the pool.  So really, you could spend an entire week and never get in your car.  There is also golf and tennis, which we said we were going to do.  But the kids love the water too much.  And now that we do not have a pool in the backyard I also wanted to take full advantage of it myself.

Some of the other highlights of the week were mini golf, the water park, looking for crabs, fishing, and good food and shopping.  Andy and I enjoyed a date night on Thursday, while the kids spent the night with my brother's family.  And then on Friday we had his children over for the night and they went on a date.  Those nights were very special and sweet.

For our date we drove through Rosemary Beach and Seaside, and finally ate at a restaurant in Grayton Beach.  This area of Florida is spectacular.  So much beauty in the beaches, architecture, art, and city planning.  It was a feast for the eyes!  If you are ever in Grayton Beach, try Pandora restaurant.  It is not the most lovely in the decor, but the food was outstanding. 

On our night to keep all of the children, we took them out for pizza and mini golf.  We didn't get them in bed until after midnight.  Oops.  But isn't that the fun of being with your aunt and uncle??  One of my nieces was begging to go back to the condo and go to sleep before the night was over. :)

Although our trip went off without a hitch (except the night that my brother ran out of gas, but let's not count that night), we still came home with a hilarious memory.  We seem to be magnets for these types of things on trips.  Andy went out on the pier to fish one day.  He had the rare treat of seeing a very large manatee swimming around the pier, which is very unusual for this location.  All the people on the pier noticed, and many were amazed.  There was one family that began yelling, "Shark!  Shark!" down in the water, and running for shore.  They were of a different ethnicity and not quite able to say the "r" sound, just for extra perspective.  So Andy yelled, "No, no!  It's okay.  It's just a manatee."  The man looked dazed and confused and then began frantically yelling, "Sea monster!  Sea monster!", with the accent, remember.  His whole family ran out of the water in a jiffy.  It made Andy's day.
The boys are ocean lovers.  But this girl prefers the sand.
The beach on our first night while we were waiting for a table at Sharky's.
The kids loved this water slide that was set up on the beach in front of the resort.
The bay by Boondock's restaurant.
My sweetheart
Greyce and Lydie- attached at the hip
More beautiful snapshots
Anna and Lydie
Our view on our date night of the sunset in the car on the way to Grayton Beach
All the girls hanging on Uncle Rick in the pool
Lydie finally discovered that she can swim with her head under the water.
The cousins and the kids the night we kept them before dinner.
And playing mini golf.  So fun!!
On our way home we marvelled at the fact that this vacation was completely unexpected and fell right into our laps.  It was such a gift, a treat!  And we came back a little tired from the traveling, but so refreshed.  It was the perfect way to begin July!  Praise the Lord for such sweet gifts!!