Now that we're into November it moves me that much further away from July, where I am in my posting...and makes me despair of ever catching up with this blog! Stuff just keeps happening, I keep taking pictures, and I keep NOT blogging about them. I'm amazed at how busy this school year has been so far. There hasn't been a spare moment to sit down and blog...or even sit down at all, really! That's not a complaint, just reality at this point in life. I shall do my best anyway.
I believe we are up to horse day camp, which happened July 18-22. This was the seventh and unfortunately last year I got to do it. It served to fill a gap in the summer when the horses weren't being used during retreat groups being at camp the last few weeks of the summer, and it has been a lot of fun for me. A lot of work as well, as some summers spots were easier to fill than others. I ran two weeks until last summer, and the past two I've just done one week. Next summer we are adding a two week overnight camp session, which will kill the week I've been doing day camp. The fun part about this summer is that Amelia was finally old enough to participate. She had such a good time she still regularly says how bummed she is that it's not happening again. She learned a lot that week too, just from having a solid week of hands on with horses (sans little brothers and sisters).
Maverick was her horse of choice for the week, an old guy who is a treasure for beginner riders. He's older than dirt, which is perfect for teaching kids on. He's past the silliness (and energy!) younger horses sometimes still have.
There were 11 kids that week, and I included a few of their pictures below. We have a nice herd of horses.
This is Kelsey with Reggie, who is a little horse I've had about three years. He's been my personal horse of choice to ride for the past few years, and I worked and worked him to get him camp worthy...and he just wouldn't do it. He's too smart and tricky for most beginner riders. Kelsey has been doing horse camp with me and coming out for lessons periodically for four years, so after kicking the idea around for awhile I offered her and her family Reggie. The date I talked to her folks about it just happened to be Kelsey's 13th birthday. This is a horse crazy kid, pretty much exactly like I was back then. I think that was the best day of her life to date. They are a good match, and he still gets to live with me, I can ride him whenever I want to, but I don't pay his bills. Now if I could just get the rest of the horses that way!
We teach the kids everything we can during the week, including grooming and tacking their own horses, horse and stable care, and of course, riding. On the last day we have a horse show for the parents to show off what we've learned.
Maverick doesn't seem to know he's in a show. He looks more like he thinks it's nap time.
I love looking official.
Maggie D. got to do horse camp this week, so Lydia came to support her at the horse show. Or she got dragged there. Whichever.
The horse crew with Kelsey. Abby is on the left, my friend and horse pal, and she runs the riding program during the summer for me. Next is Sammie, a local gal who went off to UGA this year for school. If I could clone her as an employee I would. I'm praying she wants to come back next summer!
Horse camp ended and we had several more groups use camp through the rest of the summer, though none of them used the horses. They finally got a much deserved break.
The week following horse camp we FINALLY got to see Mom. H. She spent the summer in Texas, except for the nearly two weeks she and Dad went to Hawaii and cruised around the islands. We missed having her with us during camp. Every other year there is a reunion for missionaries who have served in Peru, and this year Aunt Sherry planned it and they had it at camp. She also attended the Women of Faith conference while in Georgia. Right after she got here we went to Senecca, SC and got to see a lot of family. James' cousin Christy's little boy had a birthday party, which was a great excuse for a bunch of us to get together.
There was a transportation theme.
Amelia and second cousin London.
Nolan turned two. He's a happy kid, and it's amazing how much he looks like James' baby pictures. Even more so than our kids.
I thought this pictures was funny. It shows how much Elizabeth loves cake. Notice there are no other kids near the table.
Then Tyler and Christy threw him into the cake.
Jason, Grandpa Lee, and Mom. H.
Jason and James.
Blue mustaches are all the rage these days.
James' first cousins, Aunt Sherry's daughters, Christy, Lisa, and Tracy. Lisa and her husband Eric were visiting from California and we got to meet their one year old daughter Olivia.
Now for the nightmare picture, where we try to get all the great grand kids in a picture with Grandma and Grandpa Lee. The odds of getting that many little people to look at the camera and smile that close to nap time were about one in two billion.
Included are: Elizabeth, Avery, Shannon, Amelia, London, Harper, Olivia, Nolan, and Ridge.
Aunt Sherry and Uncle Denny's family.
My latest Facebook profile picture.
Then along came this guy selling balloons.
After the party we went to the Sailing Club on nearby Lake Keowee where Uncle Denny keeps his boat. What a fun afternoon!
We enjoyed the beach area.
Lisa and Olivia.
Tyler and Christy have a boat, so the boys and I, along with Jason, Tyler, and Eric went out on the lake for a little while.
Jason and Shannon went tubing.
Shannon's first real tubing experience, besides a few times behind a wave runner when he was younger.
This is probably the first boat ride Avery can remember. He was a fan.
It's been a few years, but I wanted to give it a try.
Just like riding a bike, I guess. LOTS of fun!
Jason showing off on Tyler's wake board. I've never gotten up the nerve to try one of them. I'm afraid it'll be like it was for me trying to go from snow skis to a snowboard. I've never had so many bruises on my derriere!
Eric showed us both up.
The sailing club has a nice kitchen and eating area.
You can never have too many cooks in the kitchen. ('Cause the more cooks, the less I have to do by myself.)
James, Grandpa, and Sharon.
Uncle Denny's sail boat.
A little known fact about James: He loves sailing, and was even a certified sailing instructor during college. If he had unlimited funds and time he says he would sail around the world.
Some family members going for a ride. I couldn't help but sing the Gilligan's Island theme song. Their tour started innocently enough as well. Thankfully we saw our folks again within the hour. It was great to see everyone, and we were glad to get to go.
We went home that evening and got up the next morning for church. Mimi snapped a picture of the girls.
Monday the kids started a new gymnastics class. The older two had been doing the one in Cleveland for a few years now and I thought they were ready for something more challenging. I also wanted Avery to be able to do a class as well, and the gymnastics school in Gainesville offers a boys' class. It's a further drive, but they are having so much fun with it that it's worth it. I got a few pictures of their first day.
Look excited, don't they?
He can do the back bridge all by himself now.
Their teacher is a firefighter. That scores cool points with the boys.
Since beginning classes nearly four months ago, this one has learned to pull up out of a back bridge and do front and back walkovers all by herself.
During Mimi's visit, camp hosted a reunion she was part of for missionaries and their children who served in Peru. They do them every other year, and this year Aunt Sherry was the organizer. This meant we got to see Grandma and Grandpa Lee again. They were missionaries to Peru during several of Mom H.'s and her siblings growing up years.
They live in San Antonio, so to get a visit from them is a special treat for us.
Following are several other random photos from the rest of Mom H.'s visit.
Daddy playing four-wheeler.
What happens when a boy is too big for the little kid training wheel bike, but too short/unmotivated for the bigger kid no training wheel bike.
Little Daisy (four months old).
The Cardboard Armada.
Elizabeth and Avery getting ready to spend the night at Mimi's (the cabin across the driveway).
Chillin' in the driveway. (Does Strong Rock Camp have a pool, you ask? Here it is!)
There is an excellent swimming lake though.
The surf was down that day.
Daisy gets a ride.
Going to church again. Mimi made this dress.
And that, my friends, is a wrap on July. In late November. (Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and Mimi and Papa are here again!)
Before I sign off I have to share what the Himstedt kids have been saying lately.
Amelia is learning to write in cursive and was practicing her handwriting the other day, and Shannon was singing the ABC's. He looked over at her work and said, "Hey, can you sing the alphabet in cursive?"
The boys took some of their money to Walmart the other day. On our way out they stopped at the big contribution bucket that supports a childrens' hospital and said, "Wait Mom, we want to put this money in the offering."
We had a family festival at church for Halloween, complete with blow up moonwalks. When we pulled into church Wednesday evening Elizabeth said, "That's where the jumpy things were. Then they died."
The week of Halloween Amelia came down the stairs after we had put them to bed to find James pawing through one of their candy bags. She said, "Daddy, am I going to have to set a trap?"
Elizabeth got a glow stick necklace that same week, and came down to my room early one morning. It was still dark and the necklace wasn't glowing anymore. She said, "It was glowing in my room. It's too dark in here."
The kids and I went to a wedding recently, (Bailey and Jesse, if you know them), and their kiss at the end of the ceremony was rather exuberant. Avery whispered very loudly as he covered his eyes, "Eww! Tell me when it's over!"
I've been putting quiet times together for the kids to do each morning. I've been known to use illegible writing sometimes, or just flat write the wrong book of the Bible or verse down so they get confused about what the follow up questions are asking. The other morning Shannon yelled from the other room where he was working, "Mom! You spelled Galatians wrong!" I asked him to spell the word he was looking at and he said, "C-o-l-o-s-s-i-a-n-s."
Avery's been practicing bigger words in his vocabulary lately, and the other day told us something was "despicable." I told him there were other words that started with the "de" sound that meant nearly the same thing, and threw out "detestable." He countered me with "detergent."
I'm off to bed now, we'll be up dark and early to leave for a race in the morning. James and his brother Jason are running a half marathon in Atlanta and I'm running a 5K while Mimi and Papa chase the kids around. We're then heading to McDonough for turkey.