Summer’s not over…but my vacation is

My Summer Vacation

What!?  It’s August? School is just around the corner….

It’s been a few years since I wrote a “What I did On My Summer Vacation” paper.  If you hate watching someone’s vacation slides, you might want to skip this and come back tomorrow.


In late May, we took a road trip to Florida.  We loaded up our circa. 1996 (oxidized hunter green) 15 passenger van and drove 22 hours straight to my sister-in-law’s parents’ house, who invited us to come stay with them and enjoy the beach.


They are super generous people, because if you remember, I have 6 kids, AND my sister-in-law’s parents aren’t technically related to us.   To make it even more crazy fun my sister-in-law, my brother and their two kids came along, bringing her best friend and their family.


If you’ve been counting, we brought 10 kids and 6 adults to invade their quiet house. Our hosts took it very well.  I never saw them loose their cool, and we had a BLAST. Their generosity allowed us to take a family vacation for the price of the gas to get there…..#grateful #iwanttobeagivertoo


I had a good laugh when our host Dad was relaxing on the lanai in a lounge chair and my 3 year old son, came up to him with 2 fingers waving like a gangster gun and said, “I paid 3 dollars for you to go to bed.  Now GO TO BED!” to which the host replied, “What if I don’t want to go to bed?”  and Grant said, “You’re fired.”  Good thing everyone there had a good sense of humor….#funny #orjustrude  #whotaughthimthat? There was also a period of time there where any question you asked Grant he would answer “green.” For example:  Q. “What would you like to eat?” A. “Green” #toddlerhumor


After Florida, we had one day to drive home (including a stop at the St. Louis Arch) and repack to take the kids to Lamoni, Iowa (Graceland University) for Reunion.  (Other denominations call it “family camp” or “camp meeting.”)  I was in charge of the children’s choir that week and DH had to stay home to work. It was a good week for my kids, though I missed most of it.  Exhaustion sent me to my bed for the hours that I wasn’t already scheduled to teach music or walk my kids to their classes.  (I’m not pregnant, and yes I’m seeing a Doc.) By Wednesday I was contemplating packing up and going home, but after talking it over with the kids (who were almost in tears at the thought) I stuck it out for the rest of the week.  I’m so glad I did, because the last morning of camp, God sent a prophetic message through our pastor for my son Caleb that will change his life forever.  I’m still learning that life is not about me….


After reunion my middle two kiddoes had 3 days at home to regroup and head off with my parents for a two week tour of the West.  They saw the Grand Canyon, Casa Bonita (Denver), the Cliff Dwellers, Zion National Park, and some other stuff.  Just before they left I whisked them off for a day at Legoland Kansas City–in case they weren’t already exhausted.

Two days after that my hubby took the oldest boy with him on a high adventure, where they went rock wall climbing (like for real, outdoors and everything) horse back riding, cave exploring, and on a three day canoe trip where they took all their gear and slept beside the river.

Darren selfie canoeing

Meanwhile, I bought a family pool pass for the nearest outdoor pool.  I had calculated that if we swam more than 5 times the pass would pay for itself, so we swam once a week.  Then I realized they were giving free lunches to all kids 18 and under (some kind of government grant for nutrition.) Once I started dreaming about not cooking the noon meal or having to clean it up, we found ourselves at the pool every day. #stillnotforgovernmentprogramsthough

When all the kids got home, the oldest two repacked to go to the farm and spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa Coffman while the rest of us went to Vacation Church School.  I got to teach the music that week, which was a blast. I spent most of the afternoons in bed from exhaustion, but was able to function for the important stuff.

Clearing brush

The next week, I started to feel pretty good–like the best I’ve felt in a year. DH showed me how to use the chain saw and I cleared the forest out of the last 20 feet of our yard with plans for a swing set to fill that space….one day.

Camp Friends Heather

Then on Saturday I headed off to summer camp for my youngest daughter.  I was a cabin counselor and my oldest daughter was my CIT (counselor in training.)  The first night we arrived was for staff only and my weird symptoms starting coming with a vengence (exhaustion, trembling, light headedness, chills….)  My friend took one look at me and said, “My husband is an elder and will be here for another hour.  You might consider asking for administration.”  I did at the first opportunity.  They annointed my head with consecrated olive oil and asked God for a blessing.  I was instantly relieved of the symptoms and they did not return for a week. #Godisgood

I taught a class on babysitting where we made cloud dough, played some games from pinterest and created a babysitting kit for the girls to take home.  Heidi helped me with my class some since she is working as a full time nanny this summer and has first hand experience.  I loved working with her. Definitely want to do that again. She also helped teach the praise and worship dance class under the guidance of her dance coaches.  I had never seen her as a dance teacher before, but had seen her for years as a student.  She did awesome.  #growingupsofast #notatypicalteenager

We were home 3 days and then drove my oldest two back to the campgrounds for their week of summer camp.  I kept my daughter’s nanny charges this week while she was away and they blended right in as play buddies for our kiddoes.

Also tomorrow our house guest is moving back to Hawaii.  I will drive her to the airport about 3am.  It’s a bittersweet feeling.  I know she is ready to start her new life and has a great job (and beautiful home) to go back to, but I’m going to miss her  When she came in March she thought it would only be for 5 days, and now 5 months later she feels more like a sister than a house guest.

We have plans to turn the attic into a bedroom for our middle son.  (Details in another post.) There is plenty of room for the 3 boys in their bedroom, but they are really messy…..REALLY messy.  I’m hoping removing one of them will either help them stay clean or at least reveal who the problem is.  #ithinkiknow

To prepare for the bedroom remodel, I made an upholstered headboard sized for the tiny space and am selling all our baby gear on Craigslist to raise the money for the little things we’ll need to make it comfy. (Since we’re selling our baby stuff—that might make you curious, but afraid to ask personal questions.  So I’ll just say it. Darren and I are both happy with the size of our family,and my health issues make pregnancy scary for me.  But we are trusting God and have not taken any steps to make sure it stays this size.  I’ve been storing some of this stuff for 3 years and it’s time to let someone else use it.  If I end up needing it again, craigslist should still be around.)

I’m all done with my summer obligations now except for a keynote speaking engagement in North Missouri next week.  I was really honored to be asked AND they are giving us a free BBQ dinner plus they helped us with gas money for the three hour drive. It’s going to feel amazing when that is behind me. #igetsonervous #ilovelongdriveswithhubby.

So that was my summer. Did you stay busy too?  Tell me about it in the comments.




10 thoughts on “Summer’s not over…but my vacation is

  1. Sinea Pies says:

    Very peaceful this summer. Enjoying my granddaughters, going to the pool, visiting my dad at the nursing home and going with him on outings to the mall and an ice cream shop. Another couple of weeks and I will be in the midst of writing lesson plans (preschool) Be ready on Ducks ‘n a Row to see many more preschool posts, as I do!!! LOL

  2. Johanna says:

    Regarding your symptoms– have you been checked for Lyme Disease? I was unaware of being bitten by one of those insidious, tiny deer ticks many years ago, but had similar symptoms. It turned out it was Lyme Disease, and required IV antibiotics by the time it was diagnosed. If you catch it early enough, it can be treated by 30 days worth of ordinary antibiotics. (30 days because the life cycle of the Lyme bacteria is 28-30 days.)

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Your summer sounds like just what you wanted – LOTS of time with family. I am glad for you. Our summer has been BUSY, too. We have had family camp, VBS, two rounds of swim lessons, and various other projects. We’ve been trying to school, too, but that has been a bit sporadic. I think I’m looking forward to the busy routine of fall 🙂 May the Lord heal you!

  4. Angela says:

    Melanie, thinks for writing. As busy as it was, it is worse to read it than it was to live it, lol.

  5. Angela says:

    Sinea, Your summer sounds lovely! I’m super excited about your preschool posts! I’ll have a 3 year old with me (no older brother s and sisters to help entertain him.) I’d love to do more activities one on one with him.

  6. Angela says:

    Johana, You know Lyme’s is something we didn’t look into yet. My blood tests suggested Adrenal fatigue. I was given a referral to an endocrinologist who told me they could fit me in in NOVEMBER!!!! I said, no thanks. I’m doing research on the internet about how to heal this naturally. There’s lots of good info out there, but it’s a fairly slow healing process.

  7. Angela says:

    Elizabeth, I’m impressed that you’ve been trying to school in the summer. We tried a couple of times when childbirth would give us strange mid year break–but the rest of the world doesn’t think like that and there were so many interruptions, it was hard to keep a good routine. I’m like you–trying to decide if the busy school year or busy summer is better. They are both wonderful and hard in their own way.

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