My Week Alone

Earlier in the spring, my sister asked me if Jeremy wanted to join Owen on his summer youth trip, and I immediately said yes. I asked no questions, so the camp could’ve been in another country for all I knew. Alas, it was only at Wheaton College, which is less than an hour from where they live.

One thing led to another and suddenly the boys were going to Chicago for a week in July, and then I learned that Chuck had a work trip that same week, and that’s when the most delightful realization washed over me: I would have a full five days entirely to myself.

For this introverted homeschooling mom, I hit the jackpot.

To sweeten the deal, Chuck and I would have a couple of days together on either end of that week. It was perfect.

Unlike last year when the boys flew alone for the first time, I wasn’t nervous in the slightest. Off they went, and less than two hours later, Jeremy and Jackson were safely with my sister.

My week consisted of speaking only when I wanted to, working on freelance assignments, and catching up on podcasts. I ended up doing a lot of work from bed, which is something I haven’t stopped doing because I’m desperately trying to hang onto that slow summer feeling.

I ended up finishing a year’s worth of quizzes and assignments for my middle school English class at our co-op, and I’m well on my way to finishing the high school class. I’m “helping my future self,” as Chuck likes to say.

I did see a couple of friends, but I also kept my schedule as light as possible. I wanted to retreat, to lay low, to keep quiet. Those were restorative days for me, and had I been too busy, it would’ve had the opposite effect.

The one activity I planned for myself was a Sip & Stitch at an event center owned by another Knoxville Moms Blog writer. I’ve been teaching myself how to cross-stitch, but you can only learn so much from videos. So, exactly one time, I did my hair and makeup and went out in the world during my week alone. I’m so happy with my creation.

Meanwhile, Jackson enjoyed a week of being spoiled with bookstores and Starbucks.

It doesn’t take much to make this boy happy. I know Jackson enjoyed an alternative “big brother” experience with Jacob, one in which there’s no fighting or silly competition.

Jeremy and Owen had a great time at camp. These two have been “best cousins” from birth since they are only six months apart. They’ve grown into two very different personalities, as you can see from this photo, but they always love being together.

When it was time to get our boys back, we all met in Mason, Ohio, at the Great Wolf Lodge, which we had not been to in ages. The first time we went to a Great Wolf Lodge was in 2009 when we lived in Amarillo and drove to meet my sister and her family at the GWL in Kansas City. Here’s a photo from that weekend:

And here we are from two weeks ago:

The water slides are just as fun at 15 as they are at 5. Jackson doesn’t remember going to the GWL in Kansas City, so it was like the first time for him. He LOVED it.

In fact, he missed out on this photo because he didn’t want to leave the wave pool:

We had 24 hours of swimming, laying by the pool, and enjoying each other’s company. Since we won’t see them again until Christmas, it was important to have a little bit of time together instead of just flying the boys home (which would’ve been quicker and cheaper).

Love them so much!

A quickie vacation

Instead of that two-week cruise to the Bahamas (which occurs in my dreams), we chose to meet up with our extended family in Cincinnati, or more specifically, the Great Wolf Lodge. Everyone had to travel since none of us live in the same city or near the same city or even in the same state. But at least now we’re all on the same side of the country. That’s progress!

Now that the boys are older, we no longer have to hyper-supervise them while swimming. They just all jump in and try to drown each other, which means all the adults can chat casually under the shade of a patio umbrella.

You can see Jeff, Chuck, Becky and Mom in the background, right? We figure if one kid starts to drown another kid will save him, so we just sat back drinking our iced coffees and wondering how much longer until we could move our old bones into the air conditioning.

After a couple of days in a regular hotel, we drove over to the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason to join our grandmother, aunt and uncle, cousins and second cousins. All 17 of us!

Have you ever been to a Great Wolf Lodge? It’s about a million dollars per night but loads of fun!

I would’ve loved to get a photo of everyone together, but instead I settled for a photo of all six boys. Out of the 15 photos I snapped very quickly, this was the best one. Cameron and Jackson (on the bottom step) were over it.

 

The Great Wolf Lodge

I’m slow on picture editing from our Great Wolf Lodge weekend but I have my reasons. They mostly revolve around some form of procrastination, but I’ll just say that I’ve been playing catch-up on the book and trying to reestablish myself as a runner. Plus, I have a lot on the DVR.

Because I knew editing would be delayed, I didn’t take as many photos as I normally would, and that means I’m uploading even fewer. I’m sorry to say there are no pictures of me in a bathing suit. I’m sure my sister has some, BUT SHE KNOWS BETTER.

Whirlwind Weekend

In what seemed like three seconds, we spent three days with Becky and her family at the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City. It’s a favorite little spot to meet because it takes each family about eight hours to get there and it’s hours of fun in a bathing suit. We’re all a little sunburned and worn out from the water slides, but I tell you this – every second of that long drive, every dollar over-spent, and every sting of our sunburn is worth it. It’s been one solid year since our four boys played together, so you can image the amount of photos we took.

There are more to come, but here’s one from Monday night at the White Sox/Royals game. Obviously, I was a White Sox fan by proxy, as were my boys. We sat next to five other White Sox fans, so when the whole stadium booed, we were the 13 who cheered. The White Sox lost, but hey – the margaritas were good!