In 2017, I’m hunting the good stuff. I am setting aside the turmoil I see all around me and instead recording snapshots that will tell a story of fun, adventure, joy, and thankfulness. This is the story of my life and I’ll choose the tone and how I want to tell it; I do that daily with my attitude, my outlook, and the lens through which I choose to see life.
Here on my blog, I’m keeping a running camera roll of each month’s highlights and adventures. Has life been perfect? Nope. Have we had our share of hard days and tough moments? You bet. But that’s not what I’m choosing to focus on. I’m taking a day at the end of each month to go back and look at the snapshots of goodness and joy we have been given.
January 2017 // February 2017 // March 2017
Here’s our April adventure:
April kicked off with a bang. We officially have RFO (Army orders to move) and we are on the Fort Jackson housing list. The move is getting real because it is truly right around the corner. April is traditionally the month that I tie up loose ends for the upcoming school year so I found next year’s school planner; mapped out our goals and objectives; planned unit studies; shopped for and ordered curriculum; and have everyone’s materials fairly organized.
The absolute biggest and BEST highlight of April was our week in Washington, D.C. I won’t go into more since I’ve already written a blog post full of photos and details. You can find that here.
This month we have been blessed with a steady supply of fish for fish tacos. I know it’s a hardship on Ryan to go out
hunting and gathering fishing, but he does it with a glad heart. =)
Like last year, Ryan was drawn for one of the Fort Gordon Masters’ passes in the lottery. He put in for Sunday’s final round, and thankfully was drawn.
I’ve started these little weekly chalkboard lists to help me see tasks and prioritize time each week. We are still in the thick of activities and school work, yet I’m attempting to eat-the-elephant of moving one bite at a time.
Throughout late-March and the early part of April, I was contracted to take photos of Fort Gordon and the greater Augusta area for a company called MILLIE. I’ve guest-authored a few blog posts for them and am so happy to have offered my services to their mission. This will go down as one of those experiences that I’ll remember as helping to make my community (local and the military community at large) better than I found it.
It has consistently been reaching highs above 80 degrees all month and we have been thankful to join some dear friends at their neighborhood pool, not once, but twice. The Yates are our people here in Georgia and we are thrilled to be going to Fort Jackson where they will be going too!
Mae’s spring soccer season commenced and it has been fun to watch her in her element.
She only started soccer a year ago, and my what a difference a year makes. I am so proud of the progress she has made, both in skill-level and confidence.
As I’ve been cleaning out and clearing out, I’ve made myself a short project list. One of those items was to paint this little porch table to give it new, colorful life. I am channelling my inner-Betty and using my grandmother’s tiny, but awesome screened porch as my muse. (I could write a whole post on how my grandmother’s house is the tiniest ever but feels so welcoming and full of love; a feeling I’m always hoping to emulate in my own home!)
The kids participated in another NSA STEM class at one of our public library branches. This one was on cryptography. They loved it!
We were already over in the Grovetown area so we had to try the new, local sno-cone establishment.
I am *almost* ashamed to admit how invested I was in the ongoing pregnancy, labor and delivery of the aptly named, April the Giraffe. Thank the Lord, she finally gave birth. I can go back to my life now. =)
Since our kids were tiny, I’ve let them open up Easter baskets (bags/bins) either Friday or Saturday. When your dad is a pastor, it just makes sense.
We celebrated our Risen Savior on Easter morning! This was our final Fort Gordon sunrise service and Easter chapel service. (We have had some pretty special Easters in the Army.)
We spent the rest of the day enjoying a family lunch at home, playing outside, learning to play poker, and the girls tie-dyed their shirts from their Easter bags.
Kate has been working really hard in gymnastics. It has been so wonderful to see her find something she enjoys and is passionate about. If she isn’t working on her balance beam at home, she is doing cartwheels, or reading biographies about olympic gymnasts. =)
April marked a month of some work travel for Ryan. He spent a few days visiting one of his unit’s detachments in San Antonio. I drug the kids out of bed to bid him farewell.
Back at the first of the year, I scheduled a week of appointments. I packed all of them into one week of anxiety and torture. I had my annual well-woman checkup and my first mammogram; the kids all had a full work up at their well-visits (blood drawn, urine samples, shots, vision and hearing exams), and all four of us had dental cleanings. I am so happy to report that these appointments are OVER and that we all have a clean bill of physical and oral health heading into our move.
Like every other month this year, Thomas had a Trail Life weekend campout. He has invited two of our neighbors to Trail Life and they are now very involved as well. Keenan and Tony have been such great buddies to Thomas, Mae, and Kate during our time in Georgia.
Since we have never lived in a state that requires me to report my kids’ standardized test scores, I only test them every other year…typically their odd numbered school grades. Thomas took the ACT in the fall through the Duke TIP, and I am allowing those scores to count for his 7th grade testing. Kate and Mae did the Iowa Basic Skills Test for their 3rd and 5th grade testing. I was so so happy to finish that up and mail those documents back!
Mimi and Papa made a quick trip to visit us. They got to see Kate’s gymnastics class and had planned to see Mae play one of her soccer games. The game was rained out, but my parents instead joined us at our night of American Heritage Girls and Trail Life.
It has been very warm here already and Tony has kept the neighborhood supplied in water balloons. Our yard and driveway look like colorful rubber confetti has been thrown everywhere.
On the last weekend of the month, Ryan and Thomas took off for a Dude’s Retreat or Man Weekend or Father/Son Getaway. The point is they took hammocks, food, and their fishing rods and got lost in the woods!
Our homeschool association always plans some really fun stuff for families and at the end of April they hosted a fun day at one of the local putt-putt, laser tag, bumper boat places here in Augusta. Mae and Kate were so happy to be reunited with one of last year’s co-op pals, Morgan for a few hours. I enjoyed catching up with her mom, Beth too!
While the boys were away, we also tried our hands at making slime. It was pretty easy and mess free. Happy girls!
As I type this, May is just right around the corner. I can’t believe these months are flying by. I’m starting to feel the emotional twinges of the coming goodbye. I hadn’t planned to plant flowers in my porch planters since we are about to move. But then I changed my mind. We still have two months here. That’s almost sixty days of porch time. I don’t want to miss out on fully enjoying our porch by using the “we’re about to move” excuse.
This is the tension I live in. Looking ahead. Looking at today. And looking back with nostalgia and fondness. I’ve been thanking God for his goodness to our family in Georgia. I have much, much more to process and write about our time here. And I will probably share it and document it when the time is right.
Whether a move is on the horizon or not, May usually proves to be a very full month for our family. I plan to savor it and not let it be a stressful time.
Other highlights not pictured:
Reading some really great books. You can find my running lists here. Learning how to use our library’s One Click Digital account for ebooks and audio books. Watching La La Land and The Founder. Both interesting movies. Updating our “attractions visited” list here; it grew by leaps and bounds after our Spring Break week. Filing our taxes…yuck. Purging and organizing our homeschool room. Sticking *pretty* close to another month of meal planning. Taking a long walk with Ryan. Leading my older group of girls at AHG. Getting a clear vision and beginning work on an online course I am in the process of building. Helping a friend finalize a Chaplain Spouse Survey that included 200 participants. Ditching diet soft drinks and finding a renewed love for La Croix sparkling waters. Feeling at peace and finding clarity in returning to a more delight directed learning approach for next year’s school year; developing and writing 12, three week unit studies for the kids that we are *ALL* excited about. Talking about and reflecting on our D.C. trip all month long. Praying about where the Lord and the Army will send us next after SC and being at peace with and in full acceptance of the journey, no matter where it may take us.