There's no way around this. It's list-icle time.
1. Maryna got her driver's permit and has been driving everywhere and anywhere. Last weekend she logged almost 700 miles as we drove to Ohio and back. This included beautiful sunny daytime driving, daytime drizzle, daytime downpour, nighttime, nighttime drizzle, and nighttime downpour and then all of those crossed with construction. She drove on the interstate in construction in the rain at night through major cities. So, yea, she's good. But NY has a mandatory 6 month permit period so she can't take her test until January and that's just fine by me. She also needs practice in snow, ice, and my personal hell: snow at night.
|Shoot me now.|
2. English is still not happening. Understanding it, reading, even writing are fine but speaking is a no-go. It's a big solid wall. I picture this giant brick wall between us and every day I push and push on one brick until it moves about 1/4". After a week or so we almost get a brick out, only to discover it's actually about 4 layers deep. But slowly slowly slowly we're getting tiny peeks inside. Sometimes I imagine it's a giant ice wall and I'm melting my way through with matches. Drip. Drip.
3. Katie and Jorge went off to summer camp for a full week. They had great weather and made good friends and had a ball. Unexpectedly, there was a swimming test at drop-off and the kids tested into Red-Cross level 3 (Katie) and 2 (Jorge), and then they had a 45 minute swimming lesson each day to work on moving up to next levels. Katie hated that (swim lessons are hard enough, but in a cold choppy lake was really hard for her), but otherwise both loved camp. We sent them with pre-addressed and stamped envelopes. Mid week we got a letter from each. Katie's filled 2 pages with all the things she was doing, her friends, her panic about the Thursday-night dance she hadn't packed a dress for, and more. Jorge's said simply "Camp is AWESOME!!!!!!! Love, Jorge". That sums it up.
4. The three younger kids also went to vacation bible school for a week. As always, they loved it and our house is humming with Hometown Nazereth songs.
5. We finally celebrated Maryna's 17th birthday. Her birthday is May 29. Last year she arrived for the summer just a few days past her 16th birthday, so we had a belated 16+1 party on June 29. This year, we were in Ukraine for her actual birthday, then Canada on June 29, so we put it off to July 29. New rule: birthdays every 13 months in America. So on July 29 we decorated the house with banners and balloons, I took the girls for manicures, and we had Rob's sister and aunt over for cake. It was a fun day.
6. We hosted a Russian-speaking Latvian chaperone through the New Horizons for Children program (the same program we met Maryna through). She stayed with us for a few days in late July. One of her wishes was to see Niagara Falls so we made our 5th trip in less than a year. It was just me and the two Russian speakers, so we had a lot of fun and laughs with no responsibilties.
7. Last weekend my baby sister's baby boy was baptized. Rob and I were honored to be the godparents, so we were anxiously waiting to go meet the new baby. He did not disappoint! Such a sweet, cuddly, smoochable lovebug! It was hard to put him down and several of us were fighting over him all weekend (mostly us girls).
8. This week all three little kids are staying at Camp Farm (my parents' house) so just Rob, Maryna, and I are enjoying a quiet house that stays fairly clean. Ahhhhh. We'll miss the little ones eventually, but for now the silence, solid nights of sleep, and no screaming tantrums is just incredible. Is this how normal people live? Because you all should appreciate your life more if it is.
*Did you know Allie Brosh has another book coming out in December? Pre-ordered and excited over here.