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Our summer got off to a wild start with the graduation extravaganza in May,  followed by Noah and Katie’s wedding on June 14th. My reply mantra to all requests was, “…after the wedding.” The wedding was followed by nearly a week of recovery and reorganizing (and a stomach bug), then we headed out for a few days to celebrate our anniversary.

Today our “normal” summer break begins. It’s time for me to get my bearings and organize the next several weeks so the summer doesn’t slip away and I find myself in late August wondering why I didn’t get anything done.

Homeschooling 1991

Homeschooling 1991

I’ve spent the past 23 years homeschooling, and unless I collapse from exhaustion, I have 11 more to go. There are days when I’m not sure I’ll make it to the end, and if I don’t, I’m going to give myself the same grace and kindness I would give you and say, “Well done – that was amazing.”

Over the years, I’ve been hard on myself. I’ve compared myself to other homeschoolers, private schools, and public schools. I’ve fretted over my children’s failures and successes and feared I might have ruined them. Don’t ask about the year that one of my children “forgot” to do math for months (and I was too overwhelmed to check) – I promise, that child is now an adult with two college degrees.

camano-island

giving thanks #1401 – 1410

waking up to sun shining on the water 

snow covered mountains in the distance

this lovely home on Camano Island, loaned to us for a few days

dimples and mimi

Last weekend all of our children were home for the first time since Dimples went to residential treatment. She has been here for visits, but never at the same time as both Hannah and Isaiah. We took a family picture before the wedding – I’m hoping for one shot worthy of a Christmas card.

Dimples loves excitement and energy, so she did great when there was lots of activity going on before the wedding.

beza and mimi

Silly Selfies at the Wedding

Beza left on her Colorado adventure this morning. She is nervous and excited to visit friends who live in a small town in the mountains. Beza finds it very hard to be one kid in the midst of many and thrives when she can be an “only child.” She readily admits that she doesn’t like sharing me with her siblings and actually doesn’t like sharing any important adults in her life with other kids. As you can imagine, this makes for some very difficult days for her, the other kids, and me. 

isaiahandR1997Last week we celebrated our 30th anniversary on Monday, Russ’ birthday on Friday, Noah and Katie’s wedding on Saturday, and Father’s Day on Sunday. Whew! It was a big week. Yesterday was so full with family and friends coming and going from our house, washing mountains of dishes, returning rentals, and general clean up, that the kids didn’t even give Russ his gifts. We’ll do that tonight.

Annarose posted this lovely tribute on Facebook. 

n&k

giving thanks #1381 – 1400

Noah and Katie Qualls

bridesmaids and sisters squeezed in a bedroom upstairs doing hair and make up

groomsmen up for an early breakfast

friends giving their day to help us prepare

Katie, absolutely stunning

bridesmaids, all beautiful

littleman

This is what a busy day of wedding prep will do to a little guy. When I finally headed upstairs last night, I found him sleeping on my bed with books scattered all around.

There is lots going on, and I want to remember to be thankful, so here I go.

giving thanks #1371 -1380

Russ’ birthday today, and his sons taking him out for breakfast

birthday pie when they get back

helpful daughters and bridesmaids

the backyard sparkling with lights

BHIeditsm

We had the most wonderful thirtieth anniversary. Our children threw a small party for us last night. Hannah baked cheesecakes, Mimi selected the wine, and our friends Rick and Beth hosted. Russ and I went out for dinner and then arrived at the party in time to relax and enjoy it. The highlight of the evening was eight of our kids singing a song for us. We loved it – and I may have cried just a little. [I'll try to post a short clip of it on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page later today.]

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Today Russ and I are celebrating three decades of marriage. I am profoundly thankful for the life God has given us and the way He continues to work in our lives. More than anything, we want to honor Jesus with our marriage, and while we falter and fail on a regular basis, we pull one another up and press on.

In honor of today, I’m quickly sharing 30 things I’m thankful for in our lives.

giving thanks #1341 – 1370

10,958 days of faithfulness

adventures from WA to NY to CO to ID

Russ’ commitment to me and our children

high school graduation from rival high schools, college together