Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Fun and Sadness

July has been a full month for us! We've done a lot of running around, playing outside, and meeting with friends, new and old. Monkey has a new friend named "J" who loves P**emon as much as he does and they've been having a great time getting to know each other!

Mango and Monkey had been asked to be "practice kids" to help train new play therapists, so we spent every day last week running to the therapy clinic for their sessions. In between, we hung out at Caribou and the Mall of America. We have a membership so once again visited "Sealife", the walk through aquarium.

This is Mango's favorite fish. His name is Bubba. He is a Goliath Gorami and is much, MUCH larger than what he appears to be in this picture. I'm pretty sure he weighs as much as she does!
Legoland has completely changed it's look! This picture is for all of the students we've hosted, so they can see a bit of what it looks like now!

During our busy days last week, it became obvious that our oldest dog Chloe was entering the last days of her life. We'd been told the month before that she had cancer and knew our time with her was running short. When she would not get up and would not eat last Monday morning, we knew it was time. The sad and difficult good-bye was said. She was nearly 14 1/2 years old and had lived all but one year of her life with us. Four of the five kids never remember life without her. Our house seemed pretty quiet without her.

Even with two cats and Cooper...

We had talked many times in the past month about what everyone wanted to do when Chloe died - did we want to get another dog, did we want to do it right away or wait? Even shortly after Chloe's death, most were in agreement that it was okay to start looking. The one who was hesitant agreed when pictures were shown of the dogs we wanted to look at and a promise that we would not come home with a dog unless everyone agreed and felt ready.

So we headed off to the Humane Society and came home with.....

Bella. Bella is a two year old beagle/rat terrior mix and is about 30 pounds. She was originally from Oklahoma and we believe she is one of the "storm dogs" lost or abandoned after all of the tornadoes there. We also believe she has been mistreated. There are a lot of valuable lessons this little dog will help us teach - that it's not your fault when you've been abandoned; that when you've been hurt, it can take time to trust a new home is safe and forever; and that love, attention, and gentle discipline can help something heal, but ultimately she is the one who must decide to trust. She has a very gentle, loving, calm temperament and can't seem to get quite enough petting. She does not seem to know how to play or to be very familiar with treats, but we are determined to teach her and to help her have a good doggy life (even if she never leaves the cats alone)!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Catching Up

We've had a very busy past few weeks as a family.
Seely had a 9 day mission's trip with the youth group to Miami, FL where they served in a Haitian church clearing the fields and running a VBS program for kids. Most people who went said it was one of the most difficult missions trips they'd ever been on, but lives were changed and the youth rose well to the occassion, doing what needed to be done with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts.
Before he arrived back home, we took Mango to camp. Her cabin was the very last cabin I counseled in when I worked there, so that was kind of cool! I love that she loves camp! She's already counting down the years until she can work there!

Little Monkey also spent a couple of days at camp. He had such a great time and his counselors were fantastic! I think we may also have a budding future staff member in him!

The day after we picked both of them up from camp, we had a graduation open house for Seely. I can well remember his first day of kindergarten, as well as the first day of home-schooling him. The bus went by and he turned to me and said, "So what do we do, now?" As a first-time home-educator, I asked myself that same thing, but that was really the first and last time I've questioned our decision to keep our kids at home. I'm so proud of the person he has become and wonder how he did that in spite of us! Next year, he'll be finishing his 2 year degree in Computer Science.

The next week, we had VBS at church. Lily and I worked in the nursery caring for several toddlers while their mothers helped with VBS. Random and Mango helped with the pre-schoolers. Seely helped with the elementary crews and Monkey was a student. I love VBS week - it's crazy and exhausting, but also a lot of fun!

That Friday night (I told you it was a busy month), we got a call from my parents that the storm had taken off their roof and water was running in everywhere. We loaded up buckets and boys, and headed out to help them get the roof covered before more rain arrived. Seely and Random happily climbed up onto the roof to pound nails and staple gun tarps down, working along side their grandfather and many other relatives and neighbors to get the job done. This is a picture of the roof on the ground. It was pretty much down to plywood up there.

This week, we've celebrated the 4th of July, attended a picnic, made new friends, and tomorrow a good friend of Random's arrives to spend 5 days with us. This has been the summer of the revolving door, but I don't think we'd have it any other way!