And just like that another year is over. Obviously it's hard to believe it went by so fast but at the same time it's amazing how much 'living' you cram into one year.
It's been unbelievably busy. Too busy. But how do you change that? Is that just the stage of life we're at right now?
Bob works lots of long hours and unfortunately also travels a lot. BUT, that being said he also has a job which always presents him with new opportunities, new challenges, and a company that is thriving and growing in a very unstable economy. When many people that we know are losing their jobs, or having their benefits cut, pay rates dropping or remaining stagnant, his company is growing and expanding and for the most part, treating him well. Not something to take for granted.
I've been busy just trying to keep up and maintain a small portion of sanity. Watching my 'extra children' during the day and running our 4 kids around is definitely a full time job. It's been really really hard this year with Bob being gone as much as he has. Despite the obvious issue of missing him, it's the little day to day things where it hits you. Stuff breaking down, having to have 4 different kids in 4 different places at the same time...you definitely learn to multi-task and prioritize.
Ashley is extremely busy. She has to work hard academically to keep up with her course load and remains very busy with work, FFA activities, sports and an overactive social life. Maybe sometimes too busy. It's hard to find a balance. We don't live on a farm where the kids can go out and do chores and we don't want them sitting behind a computer or TV for hours every day so we allow the extra stuff. FFA has been a great experience and the more we learn about it the more we feel that she is learning things through that which will benefit her the rest of her life! She played on the JV school volleyball team this year and decided to drop school basketball so that she could play club volleyball. She also has been blessed to have a job which allows her to pretty much work whenever she is able. Some weeks that's only a couple of hours, other weeks it is more. And of course she has several months where she is raising sheep for fairs.
Brandi is a perfectionist who does her homework on Fridays after school rather than wait until Sunday nights! She has also been known to ask to retake a test when she gets an A- rather than an A. She played on her regular basketball team this fall and she started school sports this year which was rather stressful for her. Having to 'try out' to make a team and sit and wait to see if you get 'cut' did horrible things to her blood pressure. And as much as we tried to reassure her she would make it, it doesn't really matter until the coach calls your name! She played on the school volleyball team and also decided she wanted to try out for club volleyball. Club volleyball is not exactly a cheap undertaking so both girls agreed that part of the club fees would be their Christmas present!
Kendra & Tyler both continue to go to school up in Paterson which is an amazing school! They are both loving school right now. Kendra is opening up and becoming much more social. She is also really loving being on a basketball team. Apparently many of the boys in her class have a 'crush' on her and have taken to wearing cologne to school which according to her teacher makes for some very interesting aromatic days:) I have started a collection of 'love notes' she comes home with which I'm sure some day will make for very interesting blackmail material!
Tyler appears to be a bit of a brainiac. It's hard to tell in Kindergarten how academic they will actually be, but his sisters are constantly accusing him of being a nerd and are beginning to get a little concerned that he may join the math club rather than be on the football team.
We have been blessed this year. Tyler has not had any hospitalizations since a brief couple hour visit back in May. We are very hopeful that his asthma may be something he is outgrowing!! Ashley appears to have recovered well from her long drawn out bout with mono. She still seems to tire easily and have a bit of a weaker immune system but that could also be because she's extremely active and busy and doesn't like to go to bed at a decent hour. But for the most part everyone else has stayed healthy.
I could be extremely realistic and complain about a traveling husband, hormonal teenage girls, sassy 8 year olds and whiny 5 year olds, naughty dogs, noisy sheep and smelly turtles, a house requiring more and more maintenance, a yard fighting a battle with weeds...but today I chose to focus on the other reality. And that is a family that God has blessed with an abundance of love for each other, the ability to work and learn and play, and live a life that is overflowing with blessings.
Someday, hopefully we will have a calm quiet and peaceful existence and apparently when that happens we will desperately miss these years of somewhat controlled chaos!