Hello Again

4:17 PM

It's a really good thing I don't blog for money. 
Because the past few months, I've been so busy that even blogging as a personal online journal or a record of our lives has been too difficult. 

That doesn't mean that I don't find myself writing blog posts in my head as my daily events unfold. I bet I'm not the only blogger who does this, either. Kinda like seeing life in soundbites.

The past two months have been full of living, my friends.

During April and May we completed our homeschool year. Brooklyn finished 2nd grade, and August finished 1st grade. During the final weeks of school, I also managed to evaluate and order all our homeschool curriculum for this next year, and even clear space in my bookshelf for all our new books!

We didn't quite finish up our math books, so we're doing a little on those each day, but it rarely takes more than half an hour. They don't seem to mind. They've sailed through fractions, telling time, volume and capacity, this week it's graphing and next week it's area, I think.  

Rene, our precious Rwandan, graduated from Hendrix - Summa Cum Laude with a physics degree.
He was accepted to several grad school programs around the country, and has chosen to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder where he'll be getting a combo Master/PhD in Electrical Engineering, I think. Some type of engineering. I should know this.

He's currently back in Rwanda visiting his sister and brother for a month before settling one again in the US.
We attended his graduation, and I could not have been more proud of him.
When we volunteered to host a Rwandan 4 years ago, we could never have known how blessed we'd be by that decision, or how much we'd love our "student." Rene is an older brother to my children and a friend/oldest child to me and Kyle. At a post-graduation luncheon for the Rwandan students, Rene was giving a little talk (all the graduation seniors did) and he said that he simply refers to me and Kyle as his Mom and Dad. That's how special we were to him. I cried a little.

Lately, I've been doing lots of work for DD&F, the bank consulting firm I worked for full time for 7 years before I had Brooklyn. I gotta tell you. I love working. I really do. As many of you know, I loved my job, and while I believe 1000% that it was God's best plan for me to step away from working full time at DD&F to raise Brooklyn (and our subsequent children), it was certainly not an easy thing for me to do. Not everyone really loves their job, but I really did love mine. I love the mental stimulation and the challenge of learning new things and being really good at something. I loved it.  

Yes, I traded one job for another. No doubt about that. But as my mom will attest to, there are very few pats on the back from your toddlers. And even fewer paychecks that come your way from them. Plenty of conflict resolution, plenty of tidying up the "workspace", plenty of food service opportunities. I'm not complaining, I love being a mom. It's just really lovely right now to be able to use some other skills as well. 

In the time since I last posted, Wyeth sprouted 3 teeth, hit the 8 month mark, the 20lb weight mark and started crawling. The crawling really just started in the last two weeks. And he's also now pulling up on the furniture.  He's turning out to be a little towhead, and his eyes are still a beautiful blue. 

Brooklyn and August have been taking swimming lessons daily for the past two weeks, and have made dramatic improvements. They can actually swim, dare I say it. And today, August jumped off the high dive for the first time! I was so impressed. I know that standing up on the high dive seems like you're a mile over the water. He approached it the best way - never gave himself a moment to doubt. He just climbed up and walked right off the edge. So brave.

It didn't hurt that he had a little friend, Maggie, who is smaller than him and totally fearless. She did it, so if she did, then he could too. I was so proud.

Brooklyn is jumping off the low dive, but has yet to climb that high ladder.

Another big thing I've been working on is planning a kitchen renovation. (My kitchen was last updated in 1994. It's due for a facelift). Nothing has officially begun, yet. It takes a lot of planning. And research. 

And since it also requires a hefty amount of money, our reno will happen in stages.
First stage - replacing all my appliances (fridge, slide in oven range, wall oven/microwave combo, dishwasher). Got them all picked out, just haven't ordered yet. Because the really first step is replacing all the tile in my kitchen/bathroom/breakfast room with hardwood floors. So, I'm waiting on a final quote before kicking off that process.

Stage 2 - Repaint kitchen and remove some upper cabinet doors and make some open shelving.
Stage 3 - Replace all the cabinet doors/drawers and paint them.
Stage 4  - Remove tile countertops and backsplash and replace with marble countertops and subway tile backsplash.
Stage 5 - new lighting.

It takes a while to get all the ducks in a row and then moving, so that's what I've been doing.

Kyle's been busy prepping for the World Cup - US Soccer is one of his company's clients, so he's been to Chicago a lot and has been doing lots of work from home, too. Now that the World Cup has kicked off, he's got lots to keep him busy, but he loves it. He is crazy about soccer. And he's currently in Napa, CA for 4 days working on some stuff. It's an intensive work setting at this amazing house in a vineyard with a private chef. But they really are working like crazy. I hope.

Kyle and I have also both been working hard to get back into shape. We're following a program set out in the book, Racing Weight. I'm prepping to do some triathlons, hopefully, so I'm doing lots of running, swimming and cycling, and Kyle is just cycling.  I'm also planning to run a marathon this next year, so I've been reading up on that. It's funny because Kyle and I are both doing a 4 week "Quick Start" to speed up the process of lowering our body fat percentage, and he gets a rest day each week as part of his cycling program. I, on the other hand, am supposed to work out 7 days/week for 4 weeks. Something about that doesn't seem quite fair. But I won't lie - it's pretty fun. I love the challenge.

So that's what our lives have been full of the past 2 months.
I'm hoping to catch up on a backload of pictures that I've been wanting to upload, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I hope you're making the most of your summer break!

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  1. Hi Ashley! I wanted to email you about something but can't find a contact for you in your profile. Can you email me at sanderscarmen@hotmail.com! Thanks!