Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The "If- You-Can't-Afford- to- Travel- to- Europe, -Then- Bring- Europe- to- You" Summer and Other Adventures

Me and my girls with our 1st French student, delightful Caroline

Margaux, our 2nd French student, and my girls at the Americana
      I said "bon jour" to my 3rd international student of the summer 2 weeks ago. She was a surprise addition to my roundup of international students. She was not happy with her first family and was bounced to  different families till she ended up with us for her last week. Her parents came to pick her up and we had lunch. They were lovely people and I was intrigued to learn some interesting things about France and the different regional differences within that country. It was a lovely lunch.
     Then  I had a "quiet" home with just four of my kids here. Tim and our older two were at a church retreat. Quite honestly, my four younger ones, even with their fighting, is a welcome break. The daily logistics, with Tim being off work this summer, of managing the needs, interests, schedules and "situations" among 9 people (11 people 2 days a week when my niece and nephew are here) is daunting, exhausting, frustrating at times and just wearying. I keep thinking I'm doing something wrong, that I shouldn't be this worn out and tired. I have battled laryngitis all summer long. I then realized that this is the season I am in and this is normal. And it's okay for now. Soon enough, school will start in 1 week and a new season will be upon me. I'm looking forward to it in many ways.
Our Italian student, Vittoria, with Julia and Daisy. She was an absolute gem. 
Happy 4th birthday, Julia!
     We celebrated Julia's 4th birthday in a very low key way. Nothing is ever that low key around here, though. The kids were noisy and silly as we sang happy birthday to her. My 1st French exchange student, Caroline, had been here for less than a week and she looked eager to be done with the whole birthday ruckus. Several weeks later, we celebrated Camille's 15th birthday. Her sweet friends, Madeline and Olivia, made this adorable and delicious cake. We had a large, impromptu gathering of girls and we sang happy birthday. It was memorable in the best sort of way.  
Sweet 15!
     Tim's family reunion was short and sweet. It was near his mom and sister's house an hour east of Sacramento. It was very enjoyable reconnecting with Tim's aunts and uncles and spending some concentrated time with my nephews and niece.
Leanne, cousin Dani, and Chloe
      The day after our last student left, our German student arrived. Within 12 hours, she had decided to leave. She was aiming for an America vacation with lots of vodka in Vegas. It didn't take her long to figure out that she was not going to get that at our noisy home. She left soon after. It took several hours of processing the painful loss of anticipated income and the sting of being rejected to get over it. It brought about an effective time of prayer and God met me. I was over it the following day, although I did wander around aimlessly for about two days with my plans for the entire 3 weeks having just been derailed. The mental preparation of three weeks of lessons and activities was now replaced with...well... lots of free and unstructured time with my kids and no money to do anything with them. It was depressing at first. Free things are abundant in Los Angeles during the summer, but that takes work and time to find out what, when and where with such a span of ages that comprises my family. I rallied several days later and have a loose plan for the rest of the summer.
      And my sewing machine is beckoning me with some couldn't-imagine-having-time-for-these projects. Now, if only I could find the plug in pedal for my sewing machine...

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