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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wrapping up Summer

It's been awhile since I've added anything here, but that's just a testimony to how full the days have been. We're trying to get things ready for Back to School, but I'm just plugging along so slowly. The homeschool room is still a bit disorganized; I haven't gotten the shelves cleaned out and rearranged for the new year yet. Jane's plugging away and about to finish up the 2nd grade math curriculum--just 5 lessons left--before starting 2nd grade in less than 2 weeks. She's doing great!

Emma and I have been working on making a dress for her. It's a difficult process. I am not a seamstress, though I'm willing to give anything a shot. I'm not sure we're going to end up with anything truly wearable, but at least she's enjoying learning some and making the attempt.

First fitting of the bodice

Thanks to Bill's always generous Uncle Joe and Aunt Shannon, we did get to spend a weekend away from home for recreation. They let us use their Lake Keowee house for a couple of nights just before Bill had to start a grueling new contract job for Duke Energy. We are hopeful that this contract will lead to more work (both with Duke and other major companies), but preparation for it has been hard. There are so many requirements for insurance, bonding, safety, and government regulations that have overwhelmed his time and energy before he could even start work there. But it seems to be coming together and now, a couple of days in to the actual work, he is getting good feedback from the site supervisor. But he is drained at the end of the day and he's gone such long hours that we miss him.

But, I digress. I was going to tell about our weekend at the lake.

Jill just loves Aunt Shannon's lake house. It makes her really happy!

Emma and Jane stick close to Kelly

It was a beautiful weekend. Bill's cousin Mark and his wife Kelly were there for part of the time too. It was really good to spend some time with them, as we hadn't seen them in years. (They left Asheville for Atlanta several years back.) They are just delightful people to be around and our bigger girls latched on to Kelly and claimed her as "Aunt Kelly" immediately.

Jill getting used to her jacket

Swimming in the lake

Miriam on the beach

We enjoyed some kayaking, fishing, playing on the little beach, and swimming in the lake. I particularly enjoyed what I call Shannon's "zen" living. Everything in her beautiful house is perfectly selected and placed, and the order and lack of clutter gives me an immediate sense of peace and serenity when I walk in and am allowed for a short time to inhabit her home away from home.

Jane fishing

Look Ma! The life jacket really works! (Jill learned quickly how to balance in the water.)

Serenity now...serenity now...serenity now!

Mark was willing to take us all out on the pontoon boat too, and as you can see, everyone wanted to drive the boat. Add "boat" to Miriam's rapidly growing list (tractor and firetruck in previous posts).
Mark and Kelly also gave the girls another new experience: tubing!

Miriam and Bill in the tube

Miriam enjoys the whitewater

Jane and I take it easy

(It was my first time too, and it was fun!) Miriam was a little astonished by the height she achieved by bouncing over the waves of the boat's wake, but as soon as she came down off the big splashes, she was quick to signal a "thumb's up," which means "go faster!" Emma was all adventure and couldn't go fast enough, while Jane was content with a leisurely ride at a modest pace.

Miriam gets to steer while Mark watches the "tubers"

It was a lot of fun and everyone was sorry for the weekend to come to an end, but we are so very thankful for the opportunity to get away once this summer as a family, especially in light of how much Bill would be away from us working in the week immediately following.