Let’s chat about life, shall we? How has your summer been? Busy? Relaxing? Exciting? Stressful? Hot?
Summer in Oregon doesn’t usually show up until sometime in July. This year it seemed to wait until August. I think it hit 100 degrees yesterday for the first time this year.
July. It was one crazy month here at Mt. Hope.
We spent the 1st at our friend Bob’s house for his annual BBQ at his home on Lake Oswego. Then the kids and I packed up and headed to California to see my grandparents and aunt and uncle. We left on the 5th and came back home late on the 11th. I hosted our book club on the 12th. The 14th was a family BBQ. The boys had evening VBS the week of the 15th. We had our family reunion on the 21st (I still have pictures to post!).
Russ left for Chicago (for work) the morning of the 22nd and was gone until midnight on the 27th while I did the single parenting gig (and fit in another book club meeting in the garden). He and the boys left for their annual Boys’ Camp (aka Mancation, pictures coming soon) the morning after Russ returned from his work trip. I spent the next few days cleaning out all the clothes in our drawers and closets, taking 5 industrial-sized garbage bags to GoodWill. (I’m embarrassed to admit the state of our clothes drawers and what was spilling out of them…)
I also discovered that Lola is even more extroverted than I thought. While the boys were away, she continuously brought me her shoes. And my shoes. And said ‘outside.’ And promptly walked to the car and got in her carseat. And happily went to town. And walked through the stores smiling at everyone who passed her. And threw most awesome 2 year old tantrums when we arrived home and she had to get out of her carseat.
After a couple days of lamenting over my sock drawers and how difficult it was to accomplish anything with an almost 22 month old who wanted to socialize, dear friends offered to take her for the day. It seems that she soaked up the attention from all 6 of their family members for hours on end. Toys? Who needs toys when you have people?! When they brought her back home that evening, I leaned in to get her out of her carseat. She gave me the hand and said ‘no.’ Hmmmm.
The next day my best friend offered to continue Lola’s socialization (who was I to deny them Lola’s company?), and Lola soaked up hours more of undivided attention. I finally finished the clothing organization project, while the rest of the house showed obvious neglect.
So, the boys arrived home on Wednesday afternoon. The next morning, at the crack of dawn, my sister and I headed out of town for a teaching conference. It was put on by Veritas School (a phenomenal classical Christian school) in Newberg, and hosted by George Fox University. Two of our friends were able to join us there, and it felt like a two-day party. The drive to and from Newberg was gorgeous (vineyards galore), we stayed and relaxed at a lovely bed & breakfast (this is becoming a delightful habit!), and the conference itself was inspiring, educational, enlightening, and soul-nourishing.
We attended sessions covering late grammar-stage history, theology and the Bible, grammar level writing (the progymnasmata), and integrating subjects and classical methods. The capstone was listening in on a Harkness/Socratic-style discussion of Homer, Virgil, and Milton (with a little Dante, Voltaire, and Tolkien thrown in for good measure). It was fantastic experience, listening to three brilliant men (the Veritas School Humane Letters instructors) lead the discussion. Homeschooling can often be a female-dominated world, and it was refreshing to hear the voices of men in a vibrant and animated (and often hilarious) discussion of history, literature, and theology. Holly and I came away with huge grins on our faces. I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the daunting task of organizing and planning for our upcoming year.
When I arrived home Friday evening, I immediately changed my clothes and got ready for my 20-year high school reunion. Remember all that stuff about billboards? Yes, well, I swallowed my trepidation, took Russ along for moral support, and went to socialize. I spent a fair amount of time holding up a wall and trying to look decorative (while my husband socialized), but I lived to tell about it, so that is something…no?
Whew. Oh, I forgot to mention that I have also been working to contribute to a little project, You Can Do It Too! 25 Homeschool Families Share Their Stories. I’ll be sharing more about that later this month.
The past two days have been spent trying to dig my way out of the Mt. St. Helens of laundry (smelling of campfire and dirty wet boys) that had spewed all over my house. The week ahead brings another round of VBS for the boys, a senior photo session, and an out-of-town swim meet.
And that brings us up-to-date. I think. I’ll try to get more pictures posted this week.
When are you all starting school? I’m thinking October sounds good…