First, I am flabbergasted that we are already five weeks into the school year. I feel as if we are still just beginning, just finding our rhythm to this new year. I think this is the first week we've had all our activities, so I guess I should be happy that we made it through without too many bumps.
At the beginning of the month, my brother came down to visit with his two little boys, and we got to meet baby Max for the first time. I just still can't believe sometimes that we have Kollman and Max. They are such a gift to our family, which we all assumed was complete with Duncan 14 years ago! These two little guys are bringing so much joy to my parents—their grandparents.
That same weekend, we went to Nashville for Laurel's 18th birthday. It was so amazing to see our girl in her new surroundings! She seemed comfortable, confident, and happy. What more could we ask for? And how awesome that we got to do our traditional birthday shoot with her best friend, Bess, who shares Laurel's birthday—and her life.
The following weekend was our annual Scouting Family Camping at the Big South Fork. We have lost track of how many years we've been doing this with our Boy Scout and American Heritage Girls troops and our Cub Scouts pack, but we think this was our 9th year. It felt emptier this year without our graduates, but it was still wonderful, peaceful, and rejuvenating.
We had the opportunity to attend a flag retirement ceremony at the local VFW last weekend. Several members from our Boy/Cub Scouts and AHG troops attended. It was a truly memorable experience to see the wide range of the Smoky Mountains in the background, the flag in the foreground, and the boys standing saluting while the military men and women solemnly set the flags in the firepit.
The back-to-school dance happened right after the ceremony. I have to admit to some pangs of melancholy. For so many years, Laurel and her friends got ready for dances at our house. This year, I had a pack of boys. They are awfully sweet and they don't take nearly as long to get ready.
And besides all of that events above, we are in the thick of high school. This year Duncan is taking nearly all his classes at our co-op: ACT Prep, American history and government, American literature, and biology. (I'm teaching or co-teaching the first three classes.) He does algebra 2 online at home and a Bible study with our youth pastor weekly. He's also doing Boy Scouts and youth group, of course, as well as tennis and swimming. Our days are full, to say the least. But we've been keeping up for the most part. This weekend he heads off for a Boy Scout weekend of canoeing and kayaking, and I plan to catch up on grading and lesson planning. Next weekend our girl comes home for the first time, and I'm excited!