Sam turned five in June. Jake turned 4 in October. Chris turned eight in November. The boys are growing and thriving. Chris is making progress with reading and writing. He's still behind but we have an appointment with a developmental ophthalmologist in January. She'll be able to tell us if his eyes are tracking correctly or if we're dealing with another fine motor delay affecting something most of us take for granted.
Sam is talking a lot :-) It seems like I've been waiting forever to hear him voice his opinions and thoughts. He's still not a very clear speaker, but it's a relief to be able to converse with him.
Jake's having the most trouble dealing with Dave's loss. He doesn't like to go to bed by himself so he's been driving his brother's crazy trying to make them have "sleepovers" every night. I understand where he's coming from but I'm a bit worried that if I let him sleep with me on a regular basis it will make it even more difficult for both of us later. You just can't sleep with your mommy for your entire childhood.
We had a magnificent garden this summer. Dave made five new grow box frames for us. They made all the difference in the world. It was much easier weeding and watering in the grow boxes. We had sand delivered and worked it into our lovely heavy clay soil which made the plants much happier than they have been in past years. Sam and his dad planted pumpkins and melons all over the pasture. Chris had his own, interestingly arranged grow box. I planted 16 tomato plants and 12 bell peppers. We also made an herb bed this year. Next year I'd like to add at least three more boxes. We harvested all the squash and the last of the tomatoes the night before Dave died. It's as if summer ended and winter entered all in one fell swoop.
4-H went well this year. We had kids from 3 clubs working in rabbits and cavies together. It's always a better learning experience when you have greater diversity and a range of ages within the project. I am so proud of all of my kids! They had an awesome year and I enjoyed working with each and every one of them!
This was my first year leading cake decorating. It was thrilling (truly) to be able to teach something that I hadn't already led for years and years. I think I'm a much better leader when I'm challenged to provide new experiences and learn new skills. Katelyn and Chris were the only kids in the project and so we were pretty relaxed. I always enjoy working with both of them. Kate's taken rabbits with us for three years or so now. She's one of my favorite kids!
Next year I'm branching out in new directions. Leading cake decorating reassured me that my decision to move away from leading in the small animal projects was a good choice. I really am not as good a leader as I used to be. It's time for someone new and excited about the project to lead. Amanda Jo, thank you and best wishes for the upcoming year! I'll be co-leading in the sheep project. Luckily the sheep leader is very experienced because it's been years since I've worked with a large livestock project. Chris is ready for a market lamb and we're not taking rabbits this year to fair (hooray!). I also agreed to lead Vet Science and do Cake Decorating again. I'm hoping that my brain turns back on in time for me to do a good job for the members in my projects. Please, have patience with me guys :-)
Homeschool has been a blessing beyond my ability to convey with words. We've had an awesome year and enjoyed almost every minute of it. In January we had the opportunity to join a co-op in Boise and God must have smiled on us that day because I don't know what we would have done this year without those wonderful families. I've learned so much from the other moms in the group. Amazingly, not even half of what I've learned has to do with education :-) My kids love going and learning with the other kids. Experiencing other teaching styles and exploring subjects that we may not have chosen to cover on our own is so good for them! When Dave died the families in our co-op brought us flowers, food, and companionship. They took care of my kids when I couldn't and let me vent when I needed too. TEACH provides us with a sense of community that makes it easier to get through the weeks.
Another blessing that coincided with our TEACH experience is getting to spend a bit more time with my cousin La Donna. We haven't seen or talked to each other in years. I don't know what I would have done without her when Dave died either. She covered my classes for several weeks and drove my kids to co-op. She helped them maintain what little normalcy we had during the first few weeks. We've also enjoyed getting to know Jojo and Belle better. My kids are a bit surprised to find out that I have cousins. I have tons of cousins, just not many that live close or have children the age of mine. It's been an exciting development for my little family.
My Grandmother Loucks passed away in August which was an occasion for some weeping but also joy in renewing relationships with parts of our family we haven't seen in a long time. La Donna made sure we knew when everything was happening and kept us up to date as events occured. Once again- so thankful to have spent more time with her this year :-)
Other than the obvious exceptions it's been a good year. We've grown and changed (mostly for the better). Somehow the years seem to speed up the older I get. I'm not sure how that happens, maybe it's a time warp or something.