As soon as I signed up the kids for swimming lessons, I knew that those weeks--the last two weeks of July--would be busy. Being gone every morning for their lessons means that a lot goes undone around the house; it's just the sacrifice we make in order for them to learn to swim, but it's such an important skill that I don't mind having a fortnight each summer that is especially busy.
But when I signed them up back in June, I had no idea that so much other stuff would get crammed into those two weeks, too!
Here's how it started...
~ Saturday, July 15 - The kids and I drove up to Patrick Henry College to pick up Josiah from his week at Speech Camp.
~ Sunday, July 16 - Josiah, David, and I were up early, preparing breakfast for those who gather to eat together before our church service. After the service, we had a family reunion, and then that evening, we had a carry-in dinner and time of prayer back at the church building.
~ Monday, July 17 - Swimming lessons began.
And from there, it continued; every morning Monday through Friday, Tobin and Shav had their lessons, beginning at 9:15, Josiah and David had theirs at 10:15, and Moriah had hers at 10:45. Besides that, we carried on with our normal activities: Josiah and David volunteering at the library, David doing gymnastics, Josiah mowing for one of the librarians, etc.
And then there were the extras we squeezed into those two weeks...
~ Shav's 8th birthday, a wonderfully joyous celebration that included me taking the kids to Jump Trampoline Park across the mountain
~ a meeting for our High School Support Group, through which Josiah will be taking a few classes this coming year (and David will be taking one, too)
~ blueberries were ripe, so we made the trek out to the blueberry farm and picked and froze 30 pints
~ we took a meal to some friends whose daughter has been going through some major health challenges
~ the orchard called (well, a person from the orchard) ;-) and told me they had two bushels of peaches ready for us so I picked them up and did some canning and freezing and drying of peaches
~ Tobin went horse riding
~ the kids from church had a pool party
~ we took a couple friends and went to a Harrisonburg Turks baseball game
~ Josiah and David participated in a two-day speech workshop
~ the orchard called again and told me they had two more bushels of peaches for me, so I spent more time preserving peaches
~ we hosted a potluck Bible study here in our home
And at the very end of our string of extraordinarily busy days came a pool party at the home of one of the older couples in our church on Sunday, July 30. When that was over, I heaved a great sigh of relief that those weeks which had been packed so full were over--because even though those activities were wonderful and worthwhile and fun, they didn't leave us much time to relax, or even to do the normal household tasks that sustain life and order in our home!
The next week stretched out before me, blessedly free of much ink on the calendar; but then I heard that my friend Amanda was taking her kids and a Fresh Air Fund boy that they were hosting from New York City to Riven Rock, so I decided to take my kids and go along with them. And the next day, I ended up taking the Fresh Air Fund boy and Amanda's kids (and my kids, too, except for Benjamin, who stayed with Jeff) to Grand Caverns so the boy from NYC could enjoy the amazing experience of being underground and witnessing such awesome (in the true sense of the word) beauty.
But then today came, and I didn't have any plans. Nothing written on the calendar at all. An open day. An at-home day. It was thrilling. :)
It seemed like a good day to finally sit down and write this blog post and share some pictures from the weeks of swimming lessons--with apologies for the low picture quality, since I didn't take my good camera to the pool, but instead snapped quick pics with my phone (which has horrible picture quality).
Shav was in Level One and was so happy to have Alex, his teacher from last year, again; and Alex remembered Shav and seemed very happy to have him again as well. :) One thing about Alex: at the end of last year's lessons, we had given him a thank-you note and a gift card to a local place to get ice cream; and he remembered that we had done that and made a point of thanking me for that--a whole year later! :)
Tobin was in Level Three, Josiah was in Level Four, and David in Level Five. Yes, David was a level ahead of Josiah. That happened because Josiah had chosen to not take swimming lessons last summer (thinking that he already knew how to swim and wasn't terribly interested in perfecting his strokes); but as it turned out, Levels Four and Five were combined anyway and taught together by the same teacher. Moriah was in the first level of the preschool classes and had the sweetest teacher--just perfect for her first experience with swimming lessons.
Benjamin really loved this alligator and eventually learned to climb on and off it by himself. It was his favorite thing at the park this year.
Sweet brother bonding. :)
When we weren't at the playground, Benjamin entertained himself by walking around and exploring the picnic table area by the pool.
Tobin made friends with this boy who is from China and who actually missed the last day of class because he and his family were flying back to Beijing on that day. During the second half of the swimming lesson mornings, while we waited for Josiah, David, and Moriah to be done, Tobin and Shav enjoyed hanging out with him and missed him when he was gone.
One unique thing about this year's swimming lessons is that two of the days of lessons were cancelled in the first week because of a big storm we had had that blew dirt and leaves and mulch from the playground into the pool, necessitating a huge process of draining, cleaning, and refilling the pools. That had never happened before in all our years of going there for lessons. Those missed lessons were made up in the second week (although we could only attend one because during the other one, we were at the baseball game). Other than that, the weather had been great for lessons all along, except for the very last day that was rainy. No matter. They had lessons anyway. :)
I was so proud of each of them and so delighted to see their progress. It was ample reward for enduring the busiest two weeks of the summer! :)