• One Special Boy

    That boy…the one in the orange kayak. He’s something special. His bigger brother usually gets to experience things first…like staying up late, or a new sport, or sitting in the front seat. Mcree is the middle child. I’ve never been one, so I don’t know how it feels. But I can imagine from living with my younger sister and married to a second born, that life isn’t always fair. I never want Mcree to think he isn’t special because of the order he was born. I want him to stand strong and know that God created him for great things and his talents are his own, not because he watched a brother and took second place. This kid is amazing in the water. Surfing, swimming, kayaking…he’s got these all down. He is strong, and brave, and is up for trying anything new. HE IS AN ADVENTURER!

    He was pretty happy to get a surprise delivered to our door. A Mcree size orange kayak. He sat in his kayak on the back porch for 2 days straight kayaking in the air. It was sweet and sad to watch all at the same time. So when the weather cleared, we headed to Wesley Garden Retreat on the Moon River to let them frolic in the open water. We even brought a friend…because life if more fun with someone to experience it with!

     

  • Focus in the Chaos

     

    As I was in the final stages of working out our homeschool schedule, which was like delicately weaving a spider web, the kids did a great job of entertaining themselves. I realized Mabry doesn’t yet know how to wink. When I ask her to do so, she covers one eye with her hand or just closes both eyes!

    With “self entertainment” during what is essentially me ignoring everyone for hours on end for the sake of time to focus comes an explosion of their rooms. Legos, costumes, toys strewn about, barbies scenes set up, forts built using pillows from every room spread out in every room, and some army scene played out somewhere. It’s chaos. I have gotten really good at letting that go in the moment for the sake of getting something major accomplished. Not going to say I don’t loose my mind a little bit when I finally see the craziness….working on that! Charlotte Mason (the woman that inspired our style of homeschooling) says that “Children are born persons.” It’s such a great reminder in how I speak to them and treat them. I often ask myself if I would speak to my husband or friend that way. If the answer is no, then I need to regroup and start over. I am shephering them in how they treat others….especially their siblings. There are so many lessons in this for all of us!

    So, the schedule is done and we are excited to officially start school August 15th. Soaking in these last few days of summer!

     

  • Outnumbered

    Another fun day of boating with friends. 8 kids. 4 Adults. It was a blast to share the day with our Pastor and his family! We took a boat ride to Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge, the second barrier island south of Tybee Island. We took walks on the beach, caught crabs and fish, had great conversations, and had a blast jumping off the boat. Sweet friendships grow here!

  • Better with Friends

    This boat is a gift. We really wanted to use it as that so we could take people along with us on our adventures. Sadly, last year we had engine problems and a learning curve to feel comfortable taking friends on it with us. Our extended family came along with us during many of those lessons and hopefully we worked through many of those so we don’t have to recreate them again. It’s not always easy docking a boat in high winds and strong currents. Especially when you have lots of people watching you. Each time we take the boat out, we learn how to do things better. Practice makes perfect! But on the water, I don’t think anything is as you expect it.

    We had friends with us on the boat this last weekend. It was so fun having people to share the day with. We hunted for shark teeth finding several (which Gress has made all of them into necklaces) and visited Little Tybee Beach (a beach you can only get to by boat). At one point, I was filling up gatorades for the kids on the back of the boat, and a manatee popped his head up and looked at us and then swam away. I couldn’t believe it, and luckily there were witnesses to verify the story! Thankfully the weather was perfect and held out until we got into our cars…and then the rain came again. It was a great day on the water!

  • Here We Go

    It was awful quiet on our ride to put the boat in the water for the first time this year. We were both remembering the last time our boat was precariously hanging from this lift with one strap that had come undone and had wedged itself into the top of the lift, seizing the lift from being able to move anything. It was harrowing, and costly to get our boat repaired back to working order. “It’s just a boat” the dock master quickly reminded me as I decided to not watch and remove myself from this day’s lift.

    It is just a boat. It can be repaired or replaced. I know that. Perhaps I have put to much hope into this boat creating grand adventures. We have already lost one boat to the hurricane and it took a while to get another. Can we create memories off the water? DEFINITELY! There’s just something so special about the life on the water. While we don’t have the boat’s name on the side of the boat, we named her “Runner Up.” A big part of us really wanted a sailboat again, but we also wanted to be able to explore the islands and areas we couldn’t get to on a sailboat. So we decided on a catamaran power boat as the runner up. I can still see the glimmer in Rad’s eyes when he sees a sailboat on the water so, I have no doubt that will one day be in our future again.

    We took the boat out and visited several different places. The boys really wanted to go to Shark Tooth Island and we managed to find several shark teeth even at high tide with most of the beach covered in water. Gress found a HUGE tooth. It was a gorgeous day, and we beat the incoming afternoon storm by minutes. (We would have arrived at the dock much earlier, however, I convinced Rad to tow a boat with 2 younger boys who’s engine had died. It’s something that feels really inconvenient at the time but yet a learning lesson to help those around you). Come to find out there was a tornado looming not far and did damage to a neighborhood and school nearby. There were no warning sirens or radio forecast sharing that information, only friends calling and texting us to make sure we were not on the water once the tornado hit down. We ventured out the next day with friends and saw some of the damage that took place. Glad we were in the safety of our car by then!

  • Adventures Unfolding

    As if we don’t schlep enough to the beach in any given day, this particular day we added a kayak to the load. I might have wondered if we were crazy more than once. That thought soon left me after I realized how much fun these kids were having paddling in the tide pools and open ocean. These kids are great at adventuring together and their mama and I have fun watching the adventures unfold.

  • Our Resident Spider

     

    For weeks we have watched an Orb-Weaver spider collect her victims outside Mabry’s window. “Cupcake-Sprinkle,” affectionally named by Mabry, has taught us a lot about how spiders work. This very smart spider has carefully made her web under the eaves of our house and with all the rain, she has been untouched. We were especially amazed by the huge bug she caught. We have loved this up close learning experience!

  • Stretching our Summer Days

    How can I bring the things I love about summer into our fall, winter and spring? There’s something freeing about taking an adventure with no schedule to keep or nothing that’s calling us back. It’s true that some of these days have been hot, and long and find me craving routine. But as the summer creeps to an end, I find myself longing for all the things these free days bring. We officially start school August 15th. I am pretty close to having everything planned out and prepped. There are a few more subjects I want to specifically plan out like having some crazy science experiments to cause more wonder or art projects to stretch our creative limits. We are ready to gather and read great stories, dive into Shakespeare, learn some Latin and Spanish, wander in nature, and visit the world through our maps. It’s going to be a good year. I can feel it!

    Our last bit of summer has been filled with LOTS of time outside. Mcree and Gress got in one more day of surfing. Sushi, the surf instructor really worked with Mcree and took him out into deeper water and talked him through each wave as they surfed together. It was a sight to see and made my heart smile. These kids love the water and no doubt we are going to have to spend our afternoons at the beach until the weather keeps us away.

  • Double the Time

    Why do chores take so long for these two? Hmmmm…I wonder. One is trying on his brother’s underwear while he folds the laundry and another one is making the leaning tower of cups while unloading the dishwasher. (YES we used ALL those cups in a short amount of time). The jobs usually get done but in double the time. They have a special way of making work fun! We could all learn something from them!

     

  • A Visit with Nana

    Where has the time gone? Summer seems to be sneaking by so fast and next thing we know, it will be time to start school. It’s been a fun summer for sure. Just this last week we had a special visit from Nana. The kids loved having her for days on end. We conducted a Dr. Pepper tasting contest, had a shopping spree at the dollar store, taught Nana a new game, swam in the pool on the bluff, put our toes in the sand for hours and hours at the beach, and had fun hanging out together.  I love how she engages the kids on their level and asks them questions about their interests. She takes time to make each kid feel special and that is a gift! What fun memories we shared with her this summer!