|first day of our fall semester and the kids school bucks|
So many of the kids' friends are not here this summer (in fact, literally none of the western kids within 5 years of their ages are within an hour of our home!) that everyone was thinking it could feel really lonely. But we have been so blessed to see the provision of new friends and reconnecting with old, as well as unexpected friends who cover a wide age range. Through baseball, the kids have met a few Korean families with kids who are also their ages, and these kids are just phenomenal! They are super polite and respectful and fun to be around, and even though they are all in the 10-14 year age range, they are really inclusive of all my kiddos (even Noah, who has a tendency to be a BIG personality who likes to smother older kids whenever he gets the chance!). They've also had their best local friend, Bob, home from the soccer academy for the summer, so they're getting hours of outdoor activity with this kind young man. And it's great language practice, too! The kids have also been able to not only serve some of the families in our community with smaller kids, but also have really enjoyed playing with quite a few younger ones--kids in the age range of 1-6 years old. It has been an absolute delight to me to see all four of mine growing in their caretaking abilities and their desire to help out with the little ones. There aren't many babysitting options where we are, so to be able to give parents a break occasionally by watching their toddlers is something that is greatly appreciated in this community. I often wonder what it would be like if we were in Dallas where it seems like so many kids are only interested in playing with their peers. Would my kids have the same willingness (and even enthusiasm) to engage with younger kids in play for hours on end? In addition to older and younger kids, my kids have also had the unexpected blessing of young adults who have made an intentional investment in them. There were two young men who came for 6 weeks this summer to help out with the baseball company, and then there have been several friends of friends traveling through our part of the country as tourists who we've gotten to spend time with over some meals. It's been so fun to see our kids getting to interact with these "young people" (mainly college-aged, and I'm embarrassed to admit, are also now closer to my kids' ages than they are to mine! yikes! how did that happen?!!!). There are also a few younger couples here in our community who have really pursued our kids and getting to know them as the young men and women they are becoming. One of my friends with a toddler had her husband away for business for a week and a half, and during that time Karis went over and would just hang out with her and chat it up. When her water went out for several days, Eli convinced his friends a couple of times that it would be really cool to go over and help haul water in buckets back to her apartment. It was pretty sweet to see the way their developing friendship with this young couple has been such a mutual blessing to both parties!
|my boys as babysitters|
When Kevin and I decided not to compete in the triathlon this year, we agreed that having a goal to work toward in our exercise was still a good thing. So when two of our western friends here decided to start Crossfit, and when one of the husbands/coaches agreed to start a women's group, we signed up! I convinced my three boys (who really wanted to participate) that it was okay for them to be a part of the ladies' group (and gave them permission to do regular push-ups rather than girly ones). Kevin would love to join in the action, but with his back so messed up after years of baseball, there's really no way. He threw it out the last time just by opening a jar of olives for me, so the straining and jarring of Crossfit is just not a good "fit" for him (haha!). I never dreamed that we would all enjoy it so much! The group meets 3 times a week and we love every bit of it--the camaraderie from exercising together, using new muscles I didn't think I had, meeting new local friends. Karis is the one in our family who is much more drawn to the fine arts than she is to physical activity, so she has opted out of the Crossfit exercise regiment. However, she has been an incredible blessing to our coach and his wife, watching their 1 1/2 year old so the wife can work out while the husband coaches in 3 languages! Everyone wins! And Noah has taken a real liking to this precious little boy--they even have matching Wednesday uniforms for the work out, as shown in the photo!
|baseball camp in the mountains|
While last summer's schedule with baseball was grueling for Kevin, this summer was much more manageable. Rather than doing baseball 6 mornings a week, they dropped it down to 3 times a week instead. That, along with the cooler temperatures and the two young men who were in town to help, made the job so much less fatiguing! Kevin's company was also able to coordinate several games with college players and alumni teams, one of which the boys were even able to play in due to a shortage of players on the field. It made for some fun memories for everyone involved!
|Hud and Trapper|
|Noah and Trapper--same same|
|Hud with his chicken foot|
Ice Cream and Chicken Feet
|green pea ice cream|