Whew! July was a nice, relaxing, laid-back beginning to summer, but since the end of July, we have been going nonstop. When I think back on the past month, it conjures up memories of playing, exhaustion and Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem about burning the candle at both ends. But, I am very happy to report we survived all the crazy, busy, fun, busy, craziness of late.
James and Seth...best of buddies at the reunion.
It all started w/our Swarthout Family Reunion (From my maternal Grandma down). We were small in numbers this year (only about 30, compared to the 100+ that will attend next yr.), which made it very relaxing and low key, except for the fact that I was still dealing w/ CPS junk and Donald was away for training and unable to join us until Sunday. It was nice to have time to visit w/ everyone there, and the kids had a great time w/ their 2nd cousins. Stacy and Jaime took us out on their boat which added to the fun. I attempted to slalom water ski (which I haven't done in 10 yrs.). The experience, like so many others recently, reminded me that though the confidence remains, I am no longer as young and coordinated as I used to be...And left me with a huge bruise on my left leg to continue reminding me. (picture to come...b/c it really was a picture worthy bruise)
Of course there was singing.
Aunt Kathy, Stacy, Grandma and Mom
Here's a cute one of some of the girls...Claire, Jana, Sara and Jillian.
Here's G.G. with Claire, Hannah and some of the frogs.
After the reunion, my mom, Sara, kids and I made our way to Olympic Nat'l Park. We spent the day hiking and enjoying the beauty there, then barely made the last ferry back to our island (literally the last 2 cars on). A few days later everyone (except Wendy) arrived in Seattle for our annual sisters' reunion. We spent a day in Seattle going to Pike's Place and the Pacific Science Center, then spent time on Orcas Island and in beautiful Victoria, B.C.
Cyni-mini pouncing at the PSC.
We also all participated in the Whidbey Island Triathlon, but the tri will get its own post.
Here's one of us eating out. I thought it appropriate since many of our
activities revolved around food.
And here's a picture of Sophia in the Swiss dirndl that used to be mine when I was a little girl. To give you an idea of how tiny I was...I have pictures of me wearing it when I'm 2 1/2...and Sophia is only 10 months old.
We had 4 birthdays in August...Donald's, James' Claire's and Hannah's! All this before mid-August!
Since then....Sophia has gotten her cast off, the CPS case has been closed, and I planned and led a 3 day church camp for the 8-11yr. old girls. The camp was a success, despite the rain's best efforts to spoil our plans. The girls were trained in how to be secret service agents. Badges, sunglasses, campfires, canoes and nerf guns were involved, as well as sewing machines, work gloves, window washing supplies and many other things. Hopefully they learned a little bit about how to serve others w/ no thought of reward.
Factor in ballet lessons, violin lessons, back to school shopping, dentist and dr. appts (I'm getting tired just thinking about it), taking care of the garden, house and kids and it was a full month. Even with all the busyness, I still had time to go blackberry picking, play with my kids, read a few good books, plan a last minute RS lesson, and do so many other things. I feel so blessed that my time is overflowing with so many wonderful things right now. If life's gonna be crazy, and hectic I'm glad it's crazy and hectic b/c of so much good stuff going on.
Tuesday is the first day at Coupeville Elementary School for Jillian (3rd) and James (2nd). The twins begin kindergarten there the following week. They are all getting very excited (and a little nervous) about it. Jillian is my little worrier. She seems to be feeling much better since we went and wandered the halls of the school and found her classroom. The kids have O'Rourke-K, Steiner- 2nd, and Gebhard- 3rd. Still don't quite grasp what it will be like to have only one child home for 3 hrs of the day, but it will be realized soon enough. I'm sure I'll miss them, but I'm looking forward to a few hrs of quiet in my day.