So many things going on- neat and exciting, tiring and exhausting!  I've been trying to get a post up for days, I guess I need to just hit "publish" and do it, no matter how unfinished and raw!  And to make it look pretty, some random pictures from around my house this last weekend.

(artists hard at work)

(a ballerina)

1.  We have had the same age group at the Ranch for nine years (11 years in house parenting!!!!).  We've always had 11-12 year old boys, with random 10 and 13 year old boys thrown in for good measure.  But this next year . . . with big changes here at the Ranch (moving to 3 girls cottages instead of 2), we are going to have 8-12 year olds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    It's good to have change after doing the same job for so long, and we've always said we'd rather go younger than older (give me immaturity over teenage attitudes any day!).   We'll be heavier on the 8-10 range than the 11-12 range.

(a new notebook, tomatoes from the garden, baby monitor for nap time spying)

Lots to do to get ready- plan new devotions for younger guys, move young-reader books into the dayroom, re-type chore lists so kids who just learned to read can understand, etc.  Let the good-times roll!

(sippy cups, skateboard ramps for cars to drive on- oh the influence of older boys!, doggy!)

2.  We are in our "pre summer" routine- boys go to school from 9-1 and we have them the rest of the day.  Let me say, we are wiped out already and still have a week to go!  A typical afternoon is:
1-2:30 swimming pool!  It's been over 90 and crazy humid (daily rains started!), so this is very refreshing.  I take Shannon & Forest until 2, then toss them in bed for a nap. 
2:30-3:30 work detail  Since the kiddos are in bed, I've been taking a couple boys to help me clean up & pack up outside.  Since we'll be gone for FOUR weeks this summer, I really want to make sure all the toys, plants, pots, etc. are cleaned up and away.  Feels good to clean it all up, too!  Okay, well other than the sweat pouring off us in the blazing sun!
3:30-4:15 playing outside, get kids up from nap, roasting in the sunshine!
showers, dinner
5:30-7 - back outside for more playing, long bike rides, etc.  Then crash inside with a movie until bedtime!!!

Any guesses how tired we are when the boys are finally tucked in at 9?  :)

(getting through my sewing pile!)

3.  The organization/clean out bug always hits me at the end of the year (yes, when I have NO time).  We're working through bookshelves, bin, buckets of toys, etc.  Clearing out, re-organizing, etc. Oh yeah and we leave on the 23rd for almost FOUR weeks in NY with my family, so I better get our house together and packing started soon!

(laundry, laundry everywhere!)

So there you have it!  Hopefully I'll be back soon with more fun before vacation!

(the ominous summer sky as we drive home from swim lessons.  A mile down the road it was torrential rains!)


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