Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our New Adventure

That's how I feel about this year and teaching our kids at home - "a new adventure." A one-day-at-a-time, stay-in-the-moment kind of adventure.
The past couple of weeks have felt both natural and alien, easy and difficult, and comfortable and exhausting. The good news is that we're on week three and we're all surviving. Even with my roller-coaster summer, riding through all the shifting emotions that accompany a major change, at the end of the day (even a difficult day!) I'm glad to be doing this. I'm thankful for the time with Bran & Hud - learning them better, and learning what they really know. And then it surprises me that I'm surprised.

Tomorrow Daboo takes the wheel for a couple of days as I head to Round Top with my sweet friend Cathy. So excited - I've never been, and my rain boots are ready by the door for what I anticipate to be a rather muddy scavenger hunt down Texas highway 237.

I'm leaving the boys in great hands - an entire post could be dedicated to Mom's creativity and helpful assistance with teaching and simply ordering our days. I'm watching a master teacher - wholly invested in her students - laugh and engage in learning around the table in our sunroom with two endearing pupils.

A huge thanks to Daboo as I'm off to my own antique-filled history field trip. And hopefully next month won't be too difficult a lesson in finance when it comes time to pay the bills...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What I'm Loving About Our Week

Well, first of all, we're at Rosemary beach this week. Near Destin, just down 30A along the Emerald Coast, past Watercolor and Seaside, Rosemary Beach is just captivating. I've never been to this little gem of a community before, but I'm totally enchanted and already hoping that this might become "the place." You know, the place we might return to year after year to take in smells of salty air and feel the blonde, silt-like sand and bike through the narrow, winding streets to the Sugar Shak for ice cream and old-fashioned candy.
There's something a little magical about this place, this quaint Mediterranean-ish neighborhood nestled along the gorgeous white sands of the northern Florida coastline.

For those of you I haven't talked with this summer, who may be wondering why in the world we're at the beach this week instead of in school, we've decided to take a year off and homeschool this year (!), and so we're starting off with a bang. This week has been a gift. I've relished these airy, carefree days with my little family putting around this charming cottage and even more charming community with no responsibilities except to eat and play and swim.
So there you go. Can you tell it's already Thursday night of a week-long vacation? I'm determined to fully enjoy our last couple of days and remain in total denial about starting back to "life" next week at home. Our real home, that is, in Texas. Not our "new home" here in Rosemary, as Esther has deemed it.

What do I want to remember from this week?
- Our first moon-lit night on the beach. Our family's excitement and wonder spilling over, reminding Corbin and me after a not-so-fun thirteen-hour drive that we did indeed love our children and wanted to spend the week with them.
- Watching our kids be kids on the beach - sprinting into the foamy surf, bounding over white-capped waves, snorkeling close to shore, fishing from the sand bar... a gift to experience all this.
- Following Basden along the shoreline, my feet pressing into her still-chubby footprints that are too quickly becoming long and slender.
- Meeting little six-month-old Joy Taylor James. Born in April, we thought we might have to wait for Christmas! But both my brothers in Atlanta coordinated their beach week with ours, so we're getting some precious time with Marshall, Ashlyn and little Joy Taylor. Oh, and Chris and Crystal and Trey and Amy!
- Nighttime crabbing with Uncle Trey and Uncle Chris. Thank goodness for the gear guys and their turbo flashlights. (We would have freaked out had we seen all those crabs our first night with only the moon light - thousands of albino crabs scampering underneath our bare feet and we had no idea!)
- Our boys venturing "out to play" unattended. They can throw the football on the beach, start ahead of us to the pool, or bike to the grassy lawn and throw the baseball - WITHOUT us. These short spurts of time give them freedom to burn some energy while we're putting Esther down for a nap, reading one more chapter, or simply pulling things together for the next outing.
- On that liberating note, this is the first summer in a decade that we're taking trips with ALL big kids. Meaning, for the first time in ten years we brought no diapers, no pack-n-plays, and no strollers. And the only one that requires a nap now is Mommy.

The only thing - besides grandparents - we're missing on this trip is Luke and Julie! Although I'm half-way expecting them to show up any moment from Tulsa with Bogan and two-week-old Broderick Kaleb in their arms.

Will post again soon (hopefully) with more, but in the meantime, I'm loving our week at the beach and excited about the new school year. Be back soon...