I have to admit that I was glad to see the school year on its way out. 2013-2014 was the most difficult year for me as a lesson planner/teacher/mom/meal provider/home manager/wife/custodian/taxi driver/assistant to camp management/Sunday School teacher/choir participant/human I can recall. The summer comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilites, but once it's rolling it falls into a pleasant routine with some breathing room. One of the biggies is the roughly four hours a day I'm not spending on meal planning/food buying/prep/serving/clean up. The dining hall is our own personal retaurant, and a real blessing for 12 or so weeks.
It took some adjusting for me to get the school schedule figured out. It was the first year I had all four kids "officially" in school. Thankfully we are able to do some subjects together which helps with the time factor. It really took me about the entire school year to get my mindset okay with the fact that it was really just going to take about all day to accomplish everything with every kid every day. I'm happy to report that this year is going much better! I'm learning to accept my limitations and recognize when we need to cut back on something so there's a little margin in our lives. Breathing room is important!
It's also important to intersperse responsiblity with some fun. There was plenty of fun to be had in May.
I never really had any desire to do a race that covers participants with mud or paint or other yucky stuff. I'll be danged if running isn't hard enough without the distraction of crud all over you! This one was fun though, mostly just obstacles, some of which happened to be in mud. So we put on our grossest running shoes and went for it!
On your mark, get set...
Some of the obstacles were wooden or big hay bales. Some were just pits dug with a backhoe, full of muddy water.
Having the end of the race cross clean water was handy.
Nix B., the 6th grader, easily outpaced all of us adults.
Here we come!
And then there was a plot afoot to dunk me!
But the wily mom of four outwits her predators with a lithe grace, rarely seen in one of her advanced years. Actually I really just hate cold water THAT MUCH. I'd have done whatever it took to stay on my feet!!
Here come some Burketts.
Julie runs out to meet her true love. It also happened to be their anniversary.
The couple that fills their shoes and shorts with mud together, stays together.
Then I headed straight to a soccer game.
The next morning at church was the kids' choir performance of Spend Awhile on the Nile.
Amelia and several of her friends and Rebecca had starring roles. Amelia was Liza, daughter of Rebecca who played Ms. Cruise, the riverboat captain.
The next weekend was our end of season soccer tournament. We had a party in the parking lot between games.
All told, again not a stellar season, but it was loads of fun!
Later that day the fam took me out for Italian food in Dahlonega for Mothers' Day.
Just two days later we held the CCHI (Christian Camping Horsemanship International) clinic at camp, as we do each year. I am the lead instructor with two assistants, and from May 12-16 we observed mock lessons the 10 clinic participants taught, and gave them a certification based on the skills they demonstrate.
There are both ground lessons and lessons mounted on horseback. Here's the gang playing Red Rover with horse terminology and definitions.
Horsing around is fun! (Puns. Ha ha.) There were folks there from five different summer camps who will go back to their programs at the end of the clinic all set for a great summer of riding instruction!
Ann, my friend, neighbor, and care taker of Strong Rock horses since the previous fall. She's like this all the time! I love people who are a joy to be around.
Ann and Alyssa, who works for WinShape camps. I'm sure there's a better picture of her around here somewhere.
It's fun to pretend you're a kid in a mock riding lesson. It's amazing how hard it is to pretend like you don't know what you're doing when you do, though!
Here she is again!
The downside of the clinic for instructors and assistant instructors is all the paperwork.
The 2014 gang
Not a family to slouch when it comes to staying busy, after the CCHI clinic ended we headed up to Lake Keowee to the Knott's lake house. I picked up most of the Davidson crowd plus Micah (the last hurrah before he and his family moved overseas), and James and Curtis came a little later.
Lazy times at the lake.
Saturday morning we took the crew for a hike.
There's a historical site that was a trading post in the early 1800's, and a great trail to a waterfall.
Buddy system hiking.
Then on to the fun stuff when we got back to the house.
Chad got up behind the wave runner on a wakeboard.
Sunday afternoon we headed straight back to church for AWANA awards night.
The kids fininshed a lot this year. We are using AWANA material as our Bible curriculum, in addition to reading the Bible daily together during the school day.
It's amazing how much even the little guys can memorize.
This program is so great to get the word of the Lord hidden in their hearts. It will be there when they need it!
The following week we wrapped up school. It seems like everthing transitions really fast every spring between the end of school and the start of camp.
We went to the dentist before staff training at camp started. This was Elizabeth's first official visit.
I wrapped up riding lessons with my student Bryanna for the season too. Amelia likes to ride during her lesson.
And just like that, our summer staff arrived for ten days of staff training. And we're off!
A little Multimate Frisbee. Yep, he's in a skirt with a paci. It's camp, don't ask.
Staff training is full of silliness, seriousness, and training of staff to be the best role models they can be, and in the safest way possible. It's exciting every May to see what kind of group God has assembled each year! This staff was awesome!
The kids pitch in to help get camp ready.
Here's a demo of how to teach a class.
Got this pretty boy this year. Nugget, a Taffy look alike!
It's always fun to put staffers who have never ridden before up on horses!
We did have one last hurrah with friends on Saturday while staff were off, right before campers arrived on Sunday. Swimming and picnicking by the lake. Then we sequestered ourselves away for the next 10 weeks. Everyone knows where to find us if they need us!
Are, well, were YOU ready for summer?