**Have minivan, will travel: week before last, John was exploring potential hunting spots for the upcoming youth hunt with JM and took his minivan onto some tertiary roads that simply aren't meant to be traveled upon. He got stuck in a mudhole at dusk in the middle of nowhere and was rescued by a redneck angel who later had to give him a lift back to civilization after the minivan gave up all together and quit on the way back home. He had to rent a trailer from U-Haul to tow the van home later in the week, since he decided that this job was beyond even my excellent towing abilities. I was very thankful for this. He only partially learned his lesson though, since the kids reported that this weekend, he attempted to travel yet another rutted tertiary road, but common sense prevailed and he turned back. I can tell that the Siren of the Untraveled Road still beckons, but the poor minivan won't be going anywhere for a while-it's dead in the driveway.
**Other than that fiasco, we've had two great weekends in a row. Last weekend, a friend gave us tickets to the Symphony Pops concert, so John and I got to have a "dress-up" date- dinner and a concert. The guest artist, Dee Daniels, was great, and her presentation of Ray Charles music was really enjoyable.
**This weekend, the scheduled Boy Scout campout fell apart, so John went ahead and took the kids camping anyway. I will not camp with them, since he insists on primitive camping and I like the little luxuries of life like, say, a toilet. The little boys couldn't go the first night because they had Upward Football on Saturday morning, so it was just John, JM and Becca. They went to John's favorite spot and found it jam-packed with people! It was already dark so they didn't have time to find another spot, but upon closer inspection, they found that the campground was full of friends from church- what a happy surprise! They brought over lanterns while John and the kids set up in the dark, and they already had supper going too.
**John happily related this story when they were on their way back home the next morning... the same morning which I had spent frantically picking up and delivering doughnuts from the Children's Chorus Krispy Kreme fundraiser, trying to get back to Philip's Football game before it ended, and get the little boys delivered to their coach in time for their game. I was not a happy mama. Our hot and sweaty football crowd came dragging in the front door to find the happy campers showered and waiting for us so we could leave for John's company picnic. Grrrr. I grabbed my second bath of the morning and we took off again. The weather was beautiful but a little too warm to be perfect. We ate hamburgers and grilled chicken, chatted with friends, and played Bingo while the kids ran all over the park doing the various activities: Bungee Jump Trampoline, putt-putt, carnival games, and large inflatable slides and obstacle courses. Afterward, John and the four boys took off for camping again, but Becca decided to hang out with me, which meant a trip to the mall, a movie, and Books-A-Million. To each his own, right?
**John has begun physical therapy for torn rotator cuffs on both shoulders. He's been working through the pain for years, but it's gotten progressively worse. The PT will meet with him twice a week to help strengthen the other muscles in his shoulders in an attempt to avoid surgery.
**We are really enjoying our home Bible Study group. We laugh and laugh together, and after spending the summer in anxiety over leading a group again, we are delighted to be a part of this wonderful group.
**During our co-op break earlier this month, I managed to get some stuff listed on ebay, and I was thrilled to have good sales and refill my paypal account. I had tried to sell the outgrown Simba costume, which at least one child has worn every year since John Mark was five years old, for $5 at the Children's Consignment sale, but no takers. It sold on ebay for $26. Very satisfying, I must say! I love ebay.
**School is going well this year, but I've had to pretty much give up all of "my" things to ensure that all five kids are on top of their studies. So, no more piano lessons, no visits to the gym or yoga class, no ladies Bible study, no "fun reading" or even blogging! I'm going to have to figure out a way to fit some of this back in, especially some physical activity, but for now, I have a real sense of satisfaction in knowing that my kids are, for the most part, getting it all done- even the math and spelling, which have traditionally been difficult things for us to stay up on. I am pleased to find that I actually retained some of the algebra from those agonizing math classes in high school and college, but I know I will soon reach the point when I am learning it all over again. Fortunately for all of us, John loves algebra. :-)
Whew... I think those are the highlights. Somewhere in the mix of all of that, Autumn officially arrived, AWANAs began again, we took the pool down, John managed to make the downstairs toilet flush again but we are still waiting on the inoperable dishwasher... but this is life, and a tragedy within our church family this weekend reminded us that life comes with no guarantees. I am reminded to be grateful for all of the blessings I've been given, broken cars and appliances included. O Lord, you have been good to me.