I immediately put "Part 1" in the title because I just know this is going to be WAY too long if I don't divide it up. This is my own bad fault since I haven't posted for so long. I know many of you are just crushed over that hard reality. ha ha ha ha ha (and the ha's could go on and on - ha!) So, I'll start writing and at some point, I shall decide that it is a good place to stop, as not to bore you to tears. You can thank me later.
Honestly, this has been the busiest summer I can ever remember (um, yeah, probably because we have five kids now instead of two, I know). It doesn't really feel like we had much break at all. In fact, we barely did. From the day regular school got out, the three new kiddos went directly into their ESL summer school. They did that for one week, then went to Vacation Bible School for a week, and then back to the ESL school for two weeks. Then, the twins went straight into their Princess/Warrior church camp the following week and Gatlin headed to basketball camp. After that, we were already into July. What in the world!!
In the midst of that, we also sent Cooper and Gatlin to their church camp. We had kids all over the place and, to be honest, this mother hen prefers for all her little chicks to stay in the chicken coop. I know there are moms out there who can't wait for their kids to go off to camp, or for school to start back up, or whatever, and it's to each her own on that....but I'm just not one of those moms. I love being with my kids pretty much all the time. I just think they're great people and I really enjoy being around them. I've home schooled Cooper and Gatlin for their entire education and I'm just used to them being here - it's what I like. So, for all of them to be coming and going takes a little adjusting for me. And, there are a few tears every now and then as the days drag on til they come back home. But, I know that this is all preparation for the day that they will actually fly the coop and have their own families, blah blah blah blah blah - I can't even type that!! LOL
In July we celebrated Gatlin's 14th birthday. She just cracks me up - oh, the teenage drama. So, on her actual birthday we didn't do anything - well, if I remember right, I got a little cake from Publix and stuck a candle in it for her and we ate that after dinner - but as I tucked her into bed, there were tears. It was the "worst birthday, ever!" Oh my. Now, mind you, there were plans to have a bunch of her friends over for an informal party the following night, but apparently we really needed to "fuss" over her a little more that day, and we failed. Well, particularly me. I failed. I should know by now that these "fussings" are very important to Gatlin. The "fussings" are apparently her love language. So, after many tears and much soothing from me (I seriously had to pull out her baby book to remind her how many wonderful birthday parties I had planned for her over the years - there were pictures to prove it so it couldn't be disputed!) - she finally went to sleep and was hopeful that the next day would be better.
The next day, 10 of her most awesome friends came over to celebrate her. They swam, ate Chick-fil-A (now, how can I not get the 'Best Mother' award for that!!), laughed, ate some cake (TWO different ice cream cakes from Baskin Robbins - hello!!), swam some more, played video games and then four girls slept over. As I tucked Gatlin into bed, her exact words were, "Mom, this was the BEST BIRTHDAY, EVER". LOL Oh, what a difference a day makes. I sure do love that precious, dramatic, beautiful, crazy, dramatic, silly, funny, dramatic, 14-year-old girl. So thankful that she's mine. (And yes, I took lots of pictures of her and her friends, in case I need them next year to remind her what a great Mom I am. LOL)
The next week we were blessed big time by a visit from my sister, Jenni and her kids, Jon Mark and Hannah. Jenni is a missionary in Thailand so it was awesome that while she was in the states for a very short time, she and the kids came to Nashville to see us and meet Bennet, Kaleb and Kali for the first time. (She was staying in Oklahoma to be with my mom during her cancer treatments). We loved having them here and just did a whole lot of nothing. As always, it was sad to say goodbye, knowing we won't see them for at least a year.
That same week, Cooper went on a mission trip to West Virginia to work on some construction projects for people in need there and to also spend time with some inner-city kids. He also led worship with the band, so you know he absolutely loved that. The Lord is really developing him into a confident worship leader. His guitar skills are fantastic and his voice is beautiful, but his leadership is becoming the thing that I am most excited about. Can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do in and through him.
And, we started a "small" construction project and room rearranging.
But with that I shall say....to be continued....