There’s nothing wrong with a travel vacation, but most of the time it’s all go, go, go! Then, after the “break” is over, you feel like you need another vacation just to rest. Since we are so big, and since almost all of us live in the same area, we try and stick around home during the summer months enjoying the beauty and the fun that are to be had right where we are with the people we love. As I wrote in an earlier post, we like to call this having a “space vacation.”
Here is how ours has turned out:
First of all, Daddy and I decided it was time to get the younger set learning how to swim. So, we found a private pool that was selling summer passes. It was really a deal for our current family of 11; unlimited sessions for just $275! (It would normally be about $40 each time we went, so the pass paid for itself in just six sessions! Praise God!)
So, on our April birthday bonanza (there are almost as many birthdays in April as there are in March, no wait, as in January, well, you get the picture. April is almost as big as Christmas at our house) we went out and bought all the girls swimming suits; from Sam’s Club, no less.
It was truly great blessing from God because they were pretty modest–shorts and no cleavage or midriffs showing. We were only challenged for the tiniest ones, since the sizes and suits to choose for were so limited.
But no worries! A dear friend from Cute and Covered offered to send me a truly modest suit in just the right size–it is so sweet and practical! It fit one of the little ones to a T and works great in the water. Our daughter feels very comfortable wearing it, and we fit in nicely at the pool with all the other swimmers. The material is so nice and durable and the quality is so excellent that it will last through a number of children (and even grandchildren).
So, we’ve been spending quite a few afternoons at the pool.
Besides getting used to the water, I’ve been teaching the kids the basics; dog paddling, treading water, etc. I also love doing laps–I think it’s easier for me now that I have built up a bit more “natural buoyancy” in my middle age! (The following are photos of the younger girls; we couldn’t get the older ones to pose for swimsuit pictures–can you blame them?)
To add to that, our oldest son had some time off and the kids took turns staying over at the new house he and his wife just purchased. They played some pool, some softball, had cookouts, board games, etc. We enjoyed some time with Gramma and even my sister who lives many, many states away.
We also started a garden in styrofoam cups in April that we transplanted in May (we live at high altitude and our growing season is pretty short).
Here they are as of the last week in July–some pretty good-looking tomatoes starting to fill out (even after being hammered a few times by hail storms).
Since we live in an area with “purple mountains majesty,” we fit in a few day trips as well. Fried chicken and potato salad from the store make picnics a cinch.
There were also plenty of dreamy afternoons spent with our noses in books. Here are some of the ones we enjoyed:
Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskill
Abel’s Island, by William Steig
A Little Maid of Provincetown, by Alice Turner Curtis
The Wheel on the School, by Meindert DeJong
And a myriad of other titles in just about every genre and on every level.
Sometimes we totally vegged; like when we binged on The Lord of the Rings for three nights straight!
Oh, and we’ve been following the presidential race pretty closely; watching just about every speech done by our favorite political candidate. This had sparked conversation after conversation on just about every subject imaginable at our house.
Of course, we’ve had time to cuddle, or go on walks, or just sit and swing on the porch and shout to our neighbors (yep, we still do that in our neighborhood).
Even though I kept things loose, I still jotted down anything and everything that could be considered “learning” so that it will count towards our school hours and days. (This really is a smart thing to do, especially if you live in a state where you are required to keep track–just put the activities into education-eze when you write them in. For instance, following the election is civics, isn’t it? Reading aloud is literature, swimming is PE, and on and on…)
All in all, this was one of our favorite summers on record.
And no wonder, space is a marvelous thing to explore!
*I received a swimsuit from Cute and Covered for the purpose of writing a review.