My kids are really getting around this summer. One after another, I have seen them off and welcomed them back from their sometimes exotic locales and wonder how they got to be so lucky!
First to go were Lindsey and Julia, who were fortunate enough to go with their grandmother (Jay's mom) on a twelve day cruise from Venice, Italy through Croatia, Greece, Egypt, Israel and other exotic ports most of us will probably never see. The trip dovetailed nicely with things they had learned in school, particularly about Egypt and the Holy Land, and our entry hall table is now adorned with a photo of the girls riding a camel. Fun!
Sam went next, on a road trip with his grandmother (my mom) to Carlsbad, New Mexico. There he visited his great uncle, rode his go-kart around the ranch, canoed in the pond and generally ran around like an 11 year old boy should. On the way, he visited pueblos, saw the caverns and the painted desert and plenty of cacti.
Following this, Sam (again!) and Jay were off to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They had a great time rappelling through the jungle, parasailing, and visiting with Jay's dad and his wife who live just outside of Guadalajara.
Meanwhile, Julia went to a week of gymnastics camp at Woodward West (a foreign land inhabited by extreme sports enthusiasts). Soon after, both Lindsey and Julia went to Pathfinder leadership camp just outside of Idyllwild/Mountain Center where, unfortunately, their week was cut short by an evacuation due to the massive wildfire burning just a few miles from their camp. I tell you, the excitement never ends around here. Nevertheless, they managed to have a wonderful time anyway and are looking forward to going back next year.
Last but certainly not least, Joey is currently in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil attending World Youth Day with a group from his school. By what I can gather from his texts and the Facebook page the group is updating along the way, it is the experience of a lifetime. I am so happy he can have this chance to be surrounded by at least a million other young people from all over the world who are on fire with their faith and I pray that the fruits of this excursion last a lifetime.
For my part, I am happy to be at home (I've done my share of running around this year as well, as you know!) feeding whoever is here, keeping an eye on swimming children for hours on end, doling out popsicles by the handful, and watching lots and lots of movies with my kids during this blessed time of no homework.
Also staying put with me back at the homestead, Tony is feeling like he is old enough to have a trip of his own as all of the older kids have had. Having just turned 8 he may be almost ready, but not this year. Bella and Natalie haven't yet begun asking about when they might have a turn. They are content for now to have a little time alone with me each week (breakfast out, a trip to the store, etc.) and to have friends over to swim and spend the night as often as possible.
School will begin again in just two weeks for three of the kids, and I am already mourning the passing of this very short summer. Where did it go?
But, oh, the places they went!