This year, I wanted to get the kids involved in activities outside the home. So in February, we joined the YMCA. Tommy and Rachel initially took swim lessons and are now in a Homeschool Fitness class, which teaches a new sport each month and also refines their pool skills. Tommy’s already qualified for swim team! Their schedule has pretty much determined the rest of our calendar, because of the early hours and regularity. Most of us try to work out several times a week, either with weights in the gym or lap swimming during the kids’ classes.
The older ones have become involved in the Youth & Government program through the YMCA. Michael is a youth legislator, writing and presenting bills. He did NOT want to do this, but quickly discovered that public speaking isn’t all that hard and was actually fun, especially if you get to dress up. His bill was featured in the first newsletter and he is enjoying the feel, if not the workload, of being a nearly high school student. Dave and Faith signed up for media, being everywhere and writing up everything that happens around them (hence, the highlight on Michael for their first subject!). Faith won a distinguished delegate award for her role as editor in chief of the newsletter at their first meet, and all three of them were recognized on the YMCA’s Facebook page as being notable representatives of our team. At the state meet in January, they will convene in the Austin Capitol building where Dave hopes to merit a spot on the camera crew televising the event locally.
Jon began work full time at Walmart in electronics as they moved into a new superstore, quickly distinguishing himself as capable of accomplishing whatever needed done. He’s really developed his people skills in just a few months. As his schedule permits, he still runs the sound system for church on Sundays and volunteers his free time at the fire department. Just this week, he assisted with a county-wide reprogramming of all emergency radios to meet FEMA standards of compatibility. He is working toward EMT certification (still – don’t ask!) while he figures out where he ultimately wants to go and how to finance college to get there.
Over the summer, Faith had a great time visiting all major SoCal points of interest with Grandma and Grandpa Elving before flying to help Grandma and Grandpa Bryant move to Uncle Barry’s property near the Central Coast. I met her in Phoenix and enjoyed a brief visit with Amy, Kolby and Mia over moving boxes and sandwiches. Dave flew into Cali in time to unload the truck with us on the other end. He and Faith stayed with Barry’s family to help Mom settle in and I started back home, stopping briefly at my mentor/best friend’s home in Santa Cruz. I was greatly inspired to see the achievements of homeschoolers grown up and what they still had ahead of them. By fall when my wayward teens returned, Dave had a more surfer-influenced style and an appreciation of clean cars; Faith came home with a Starbucks habit and a personal strength she never realized was inside.
A long-awaited answer to prayer was braces for both Faith and Dave. We probably won’t see their smiles again for two years. Dave’s so busy with his senior year he wasn’t smiling anyway. In addition to working out, Y&G, and core courses at home, he enrolled in Fire Academy, which will enable him to challenge the state exam this summer and hopefully get hired on at a paid department.
Bob and I took a much-needed vacation just after Thanksgiving to Ohio for his company’s Christmas party. We had a great time all around, including visiting Beth and Paul and attending Bible study with them. We left all the kids home “alone” with a tank full of gas in my new-to-me Expedition and some cash for expenses. It was awesome to check on them Friday night and find that Jon had taken them all to the nighttime Christmas parade in downtown Lockhart and arranged for the younger boys to ride on fire trucks in the procession. Rachel waved from the curb with her favorite family friend. Saturday they hung Christmas lights on the house and watched a Hogan’s Heroes marathon. Sunday morning, they drove up to church early to set up sound as usual, and enable Michael to meet with his Boy Scout leader to sign off the requirements for his next level, the Tenderfoot. By the time we arrived home later that evening, my truck and Jon’s were sparkling clean, dogs were fed, cat was medicated and all children ready for bed on time. Awesome. I love my kids and the opportunity I’ve had be on the front lines of their lives, every day. God has done more in our lives through me teaching them than I ever could have predicted when we first set out.
We celebrated our 23rd anniversary as a family this year by sightseeing around the Alamo. It’s getting harder and harder to get everyone together for a photo. I could just merge me in, if I had any clue how to work Photoshop. But technology is Jon’s gig; I just take the photos.
Merry Christmas to all our dear friends and family!