First off, please let me apologize for being so quiet! Things have just gotten away from me and I find myself at the end of May, without having written anything since the beginning of March. Truth be told, at the beginning of this month, I did start to write a journal entry, but I got distracted and wasn't able to finish it in one sitting. When I was able to come back to it, the program was closed and I lost everything I had started to write. * sigh * And, so, here we are . . .
I suppose, for time and space consideration, it would be best to just begin again with the present, for nothing of great consequence has happened since our last chat. Except that Winter is over. Finally!! There may be some form of pride to be found at a later date about surviving such a Winter, but for the moment, I'm welcoming the heat and humidity with open arms! We have lived in this house for 10 years and we finally came to our senses and put air conditioners in the three bedroom windows. Our heat come from a boiler, so central air, with all of its ducts and what not, is not a possible solution. The downstairs is quite open and a large air conditioner is not really possible (at least not without my husband having to run new wiring for it), so we will be putting a medium sized one in the living room. It won't do much for the dining or kitchen areas, due to the open space, but it will do something for the living room, where we can sit and enjoy some relief from the heat. I'm not sure why it has taken us a decade to to do this!
We have recently doubled the size of our walk-in cooler, moving it all outside of our kitchen. Before, out cooler took up a 6x8 portion of our commercial kitchen floor space and the freezer was already outside, but things have just gotten so cramped in there and we knew it was time for a change. We don't have any room to expand the room itself, for we don't want to take up any more yard space for the children than we already have. So we opted to make a cooler-freezer combo outside. The structure isn't attached to the house, so it's treated like a patio. The dimensions are 10x16, with 16 being the length of our kitchen (the actual cooler is 10x10 and the freezer is 10x6). While it does take up more space then the freezer did, we aren't taking any space that was used or played on by the children. It had freed up the kitchen quite nicely! June is turning out to be very full on our schedule. We don't have one weekend free at all! Which is good, for it makes for a nice income. But it can make the days quite long and hard, too.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we took a family vacation to Mackinac Island, MI. We had been planning and saving for it for about a year. It's not a cheap place to go, but even more so for a family of 10! It had been over 5 years since we were able to take a family vacation anywhere, so it was so nice! Due to our business, our location, and Adam pastoring our church, we don't have a very large window of time to go far. The island is a very special place to visit. The most remarkable aspect of it is this: there are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island (except for the 1 police car, 1 ambulance, and 1 firetruck). The mode of transportation is either horse drawn carriage or bicycling, with bicycling being the favorite. It has a very nice atmosphere there, even with all of the tourists. 80% of the island is national forest, so the development is very limited. We were on the island the entire day of Friday, enjoying the sites of Fort Mackinac and other points of interest. We stayed in Mackinaw City, for it's just too much money to stay on the island. The next day, Saturday, we took the children to a miniature golf course and they had a blast! On our way home, we took a little detour and went to see the Painted Rock Cliffs, Sable Falls, and The Great Sand Dunes in northern MI, off of Lake Superior. We were so surprised to see ice on the lake, about 1/2 a mile out from the shore! Yeah, it's been that kind of Winter! (I have included pictures from our vacation for you to see.)
For the first time ever, I am satisfied with how we ended school. It wasn't perfect by any means, and we haven't finished all of what I had planned for the school year, but I still am quite satisfied with how we ended and what we did accomplish. I have some new ideas for next year that I think will be good ones and I will be giving the children a survey of sorts, to see what they liked about this year and what they didn't. Of course, some things will just be part of school, no matter what their opinion is. Like math, as much as some would like that to disappear, it won't. But others, like the kind of schedule to have (block vs periods) or the kind of spelling workbooks to have . . . those kinds of things are what I would like their opinions about. Our deadline for getting everything done was our vacation and I am quite happy to report everyone was done almost two weeks before! Yay!!
Maacah (13) will be going to a girls camp in June, geared towards single ladies from ages 12-30. She will be gone for five days and while that makes her a little nervous, I think she is looking forward to it. Maacah has been working for her Dad, cleaning his kitchen every day and getting paid $20 a week. Grace (11) is walking my mother's dog and doing some mowing to earn some money this summer. She has become my right hand helper in the kitchen, of which I am so grateful for! Isaac (9.5) is in Little League and is having so much fun! He has such a powerful swing, as long as the ball comes into contact with the bat that is. He's not the fastest on the team, and getting to first base is a bit tough for him, but he is loving every bit of it. It doesn't hurt that his uncle is the coach and his cousin is on the same team, either. Malachi and Nathaniel are both growing like weeds and getting so tall. Malachi will be 8 in a few weeks and he's already practicing telling people he's 8. Nathaniel (6.5) is my special boy and his gifts are slowly showing themselves. His attitude is getting better, for the most part, and we are having less and less issues with his temper. Damaris (4.5) is such a pretty little girl! With her dark blonde hair and soft brown eyes, she's my little sweetheart! She is still struggling with keeping herself dry and clean during the day, but we are steadily making progress. Caleb (2.5) is our little Mack truck, in a mini version. He's got the brightest blue eyes that sparkle more often the not! He's ready to potty train, and I'm hoping he will be easier then the last 2 have been. He's talking all. The. Time. His vocabulary and grasp on how to use words is astounding! Samuel will be 10 months June 5, which is hard to believe he's that old already! He's not rolling over, crawling, or even pulling himself up on anything. We aren't concerned, for his muscle tone is good and he's supporting his weight with his feet when you stand him up, but he just doesn't want to go anywhere. He has no ambition, the little turkey! The older he gets the more he looks like Isaac did at his age.
I think that about wraps it up for us. I hope you all are enjoying the beginning of Summer and enjoying your children while they are with you. For time keeps going, they keep growing, and before you know it, they are gone.
Blessings to all of you!