Friday, August 28, 2015

Summer Happenings and New School Year

Time for an update.  Sorry I left you all on such a downer post.
Jaedyn, Josiah, Ciara and Eliana

We had a fairly good summer.  Once we got past a few weeks of mugginess, the weather was great.

I have a garden that isn't the best, but it has been fun and I'm learning.  It sat fallow for the past couple years before we moved here.  Cucumbers, carrots, melons have done well.  Most of my tomatoes didn't do well.  A few cherry tomatoes only.  One green pepper plant survived.  On my deck I have (or had) spinach, lettuce, oregano, basil, two cherry tomato plants, which all did well.  I used bags of garden soil laying on sides with squares cut out for the plants to grow.  I've just replanted hoping for a fall crop.  In the garden I just planted a bunch of beets, broccoli and lettuce.  I have some potato starters up here on the deck but fear I started too late...  Lastly, snow peas did well in the flower garden, that is, until the bunnies found them.  :(.  I worked as camp "nurse" a couple of weeks too.

Elli in orange with her flute at the spring concert

Elli went to two camps here at Menno Haven, participated in the summer band program, and took swimming lessons.  She loves the water and swam for hours here at the pool.  Elli's flute has improved a lot.  Her attitude towards schoolwork and being helpful around the house has really improved also.  Now that she has started sixth grade, I can see a big difference in how she comes home and gets started with her schoolwork and music practice.  It really delights me.  This year she gets to do choir, and is hoping to be asked to be part of an early morning ensemble, but I'm not sure if she's quite ready for that yet.  We'll see.
Josiah performed at the Maud Powell Arts Festival this month.
Josiah went to one camp here as he is only 8.  He helped with the garden and both younger children participated in a biweekly junior master gardener program.  He took swimming lessons and has progressed to jumping off the diving board and swimming in the deep end.
He has continued with his violin through the summer and especially enjoyed doing group lessons.

Jaedyn had a rocky summer.  She started out working the first 5-6 weeks in the kitchen at camp.  However, the doctors kept asking for her to get a bunch of tests done and she had so many appointments, then the work load and heat were tearing up her guts.  To top it all off, her left leg started swelling up.  Ultimately, we discovered that she has primary lymphedema.  Now she has to wear a hip high compression stocking every day for the rest of her life.  She never seems to get a break.  Her boss told her to take a week off when her leg got bad, but then never let her return.  Later in the summer, she started doing housekeeping with another lady at the camp, and that seemed a much better fit.  She earned enough to buy herself a laptop computer.  In August we took her to Wisconsin for Camp Oasis.  She loved it.  Unfortunately, she started having night seizures again and had to come home a day early.  This was a real blow after everything else that happened this summer.

Jaedyn and Ciara are finishing their first week back to school.  Both teen girls decided to not go to public school and are happily engaged at their former private school.  I'm really happy about this.

Ciara on left and Jaedyn in yellow at their spring banquet for school.  Pictured here with friends Elisabeth Porter and Ivy Brown.
Ciara worked doing housekeeping and gardening with a friend this summer.  She has started medicine for her anxiety and went to counseling all summer.  She is in a much better place now emotionally, and was actually excited about starting school as a senior this year.  We're doing college shopping now.  She has another ACT in October, and we'll go to Kansas to visit Bethel College in October too.  Oh, and we put in the requisite 50+ hours of driving so she will soon get her driver's license!
At the St Louis Zoo in the heat in July
Tim has worked at Camp Menno Haven for a full year now.  The summer was especially challenging for him as he doesn't like to act the role of boss or to have to confront negative behavior.  He had two full time summer staff this year, but he had to let one go.  He is pretty tired now and is happy for a break in the schedule.  I think he'll be glad when he can shut down the pool after labor day.  It is a lot of work.