Sunday, September 11, 2016

Getting Current so We Can Get to the Beach!

I know, I know, I'm behind...

But, guess what! With this post we are going to get current! (For the most part.)

Here is a summary of all the big stuff that took place towards the end of our summer. We have quotes and moments and stories and ponderings all here and after this post we will almost be up to our time in Maui (where we are currently). Also, at some point, I will tell all about my time at Summit Ministries, which is where I was when I was out of town for two weeks.

*Flips back to July in my planner*

*Checks previous post to see where I left off*

*Tries to get oriented*

*Begins the long process of uploading tons of pictures*

*Decides I have done enough outlining of my actions*

The remainder of our summer from the end of July through the first two weeks of August looked a lot like the rest of our summer.

I had work those three weeks and Chloe, Christian, and I all continued finishing up our college classes. For me that was Art Appreciation, and for Chloe and Christian that was Public Speaking. Gabe continued going to the gym 9 hours every week and Mia had her own gymnastics class on Wednesdays for about an hour or so.

I was so excited to go back to watching just the three children, instead of all five (including the cousins). Everything was so quiet!! Caring for five was still fun for the most part, but I enjoyed being able to give more individual attention with just three to care for.

I'm pretty sure that every time I finish a book five new ones appear on my "to read" shelf.

Towards the end of July was Mom's birthday and it just so happened to fall on our engagement group night so we threw a pool party and grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and invited other friends from church and family to join us that night. We ended up having 49 people at our house! 

Dad did a great job manning the grill.

Don't Aunt Lauren and Uncle Phil look like models? #stunninglygorgeous

The adults visited both inside and outside, and most of the kids swam. A favorite game was keeping beach balls in the air, but the challenging aspect was also keeping them in the pool... The sunset was stunning and Mom felt well celebrated. 

The last time I blogged *hides face* it was cold and rainy (what???) so I made hot tea and curled up in a blanket to write. (Totally July in Texas...) 

Our pool was finished and everything was looking beautiful...except that we had no grass... (Which of course made chasing balls at the pool party so fun... Rocks, weeds, stickers, oh my!) 

So Mom and Dad decided, "Why pay for someone else to lay sod and deprive our children of the opportunity to learn how to do it themselves?" 

It's not technically that difficult, but those blankets of grass are heavy, especially after you've already laid two pallets worth of sod. And, since this is Texas we are talking about, it was 90+ degrees outside and humid. Chloe and I only almost passed out a few times. Being Linn girls, though, our mentality is "don't take a break until you can't see or hear anything anymore, or until you are actually on the ground." 

The whole project only took us about 3 hours, I believe. Mia and Ava ran around on top of the grass to pack it down and Mom and Gabe didn't have to do anything because Gabe was at the gym. 

Once we finished it was great to jump into the pool. The dirt and mud was so caked into our skin we had to use a pressure sprayer and scrub hard with our hands to get it mostly off. Also, sod is very scratchy, side effects may include irritated skin and bloody cuts on arms and legs. 

One of my assignments for class was to go to an art museum and then write an essay. Gramma and I decided to spend the day together and after lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (with cheesecake, because why else would you go there?) we explored the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. 

This Japanese screen was my favorite piece.

The two of us had a wonderful time together finding art, discussing architecture, sharing quilt ideas, and catching up on life. 

As my weeks with these beautiful children came to an end I soaked up every minute. By the end the baby was walking (my back was very grateful, that child is solid, aka, he weights 25+ lbs) and the four year old was potty trained (the three year old was already good in that area). They also figured it out, "Uoo yike worship music a yot, Yidia." 

Sunday afternoons...

One Sunday evening we invited high school and college kids from our church to come swim and eat pizza at our house. I think there ended up being 16 (ish) of us and everyone had an absolute blast! 

The ones of us who stayed in the pool late into the night:

I love snuggling with precious baby Blaire! 
Kate has the cutest little sister ever!! 

My last day of work: 

Mom and Dad went out on dates several times and enjoyed staying connected with each other, sharing ideas, and making plans. I got to spend time with several of my friends and attend times of worship and encouragement a couple of times with young women in our church. I also got my shopping done and had my car inspected (the guys at the shop still remember me from all the other times...) and had my hair cut trimmed. Chloe and Christian finished their classes when I did (the same time I finished work). Ava, Gabe, and Mia were pretty self-sufficient with their schoolwork and are amazing students. 

I've been pondering...

*My thoughts on my last day of work and classes.

When Summer began this day seemed so far away. Now it's here and I still feel like graduation was last week. 
I have two college classes completed and two CLEP tests passed. I finished my 12 weeks of work and have started some new ventures. 
Tomorrow I leave to spend two weeks at Summit Ministries in Colorado Springs. 

Last year at this time I was finishing my nanny job and looking forward to seeing what God was going to add to the pages of my stories in the coming year. That day also seems like yesterday, but so much had taken place and I have learned so much. It has been a wonderful journey, one that is continuing on, and I'm so glad He is my guide. 
As a nanny this summer it was very different watching three children instead of just two, which is what I did last summer because the baby stayed with his mom. But it was tons of fun. For three weeks I also watched their cousins and that was...a lot. It's amazing how much easier everything seems when you go back to watching just three. 
The four year old is completely potty trained and the baby started walking about three weeks ago. I sang a lot apparently, because they figured out worship music is my favorite. 
Most frequently asked question: why? 
Most frequent response to my answer: why? 
Second most frequently asked question: how old are you? 
*cue the following daily discussion on how some teenagers are also grown ups as they insisted I am still a kid* 
These are precious children who have given me many fun memories and hilarious stories; caring for them was a privilege. 
Also, it really is a wonderful day when the 25+ lb baby learns to walk...

That Moment When...

When you start playing "nothing" (not a song or anything played before) on the piano and make yourself cry...

Christian finds a rat swimming in the pool. 

Mia is reading "The Greatest Shark Attacks of all Time" before bed. 

The Herd: Quoted

"This is less humiliating than when the backhoe almost hit our house." -Gabe
"Less nerve-racking, maybe?" -Dad

"Thank you so much for not letting us play video games, Mom." -Ava with all sincerity

"The longer we do it, the harder it gets!" -Me to Dad while laying sod.

"Do I use it? Do I need it?" -Gabe evaluating the things in his room to get rid of stuff.

"Who wants pity money?" -Christian while playing poker with the littles.

"People walk off cliffs while they are on their phones?" That's just dumb! How could someone miss a cliff?" -Gabe while discussing the dangers of "Pokemon Go".

"Sometimes the grass just needs water, sometimes it needs to be cut, and at times the grass needs to be burned before it can grow back green. " -Chloe

"What's a serial killer?" -Gabe
"It's someone who murders Cheerios boxes." -Mom
*Gabe dies laughing once he realizes she is joking*
*Mom then writes out the two words and begins explaining the difference*
"So it's like a series of books or movies." -Gabe beginning to understand the origin of "serial."
"Yes!" -Mom
"So a serial killer is someone who kills books and movies?" -Gabe

"My hands are suffering a great deal." -Gabe showing us his gymnastics battle scars.

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