Well, the new “school year” was officially underway this month. We continued many of our regular activities, including Flo’s guitar and piano lessons, Earth Scouts and yoga. The month started with our annual “Not Back to School Picnic.” For the past couple years, we’ve met at a local part in Smithsburg to celebrate the onset of the new “school” year. Once again, we had a nice afternoon, eating and visiting with friends.
This month, Flo, Joe and I all went to see a new dentist. Joe has had a tiny cavity for over two years, but the last time we took him to the dentist, it did not go well at all. We barely got his mouth open long enough to confirm that it was indeed a cavity. I dragged him out of the office kicking and screaming. Not fun. Recently, I’ve seen some signs of maturity which led me to believe he could now handle, without such drama, a trip to the dentist. And, in fact, his initial check-up and then return visit for his filling, all went wonderfully. So, that was a relief.
SALT (Smithsburg Area Learning Time Co-op) started up again this month, with some fun new classes. Flo’s doing a historical arts class, a reading circle, and a kitchen chemistry class. Joe still just hangs out and mostly plays with Legos and does the sports activities, but he’s well-behaved, and not quite the handful he was last year. Of course, now Zofia is stepping up to fill that roll. I opted not to volunteer for much this semester, as I knew I would be generally preoccupied with keeping track of her right now. Nonetheless, besides the having to get up early part, we really enjoy the group and look forward to the Fall semester.
On the 7th, we hosted a vegan potluck at our house. We had a nice turnout of about ten people, and lots of good food. I’m persistent with keeping this group going because I think it’s important for my kids to see a positive representation of vegetarianism. Of course, being vegetarian or vegan isn’t a requirement for a good friendship, but it’s just nice to have some friends with whom we share that same interest and can share a good meal.
On the 10th, the new Martin’s grocery store opened down the street from us. Normally, we wouldn’t be so excited about a grocery store, but being that it’s a fifteen minute walk, it gives us a destination on our regular outings, as well as, makes grocery shopping more convenient. Even though we get most of our groceries through our natural foods buying club co-op, there are inevitably things we need now and then, and it’s nice to be able to run down the street instead of across town. The store has these fancy new hand-held scanners you can use to scan your groceries as you shop, so when you get to the check-out, you just scan a barcode, pay and off you go. The kids really like those, and, of course, fight over who is going to scan what.
This month I decided to start a “Creative Journaling Club” for our homeschooling group. Journaling is always something I’ve been interested in, and I figured it would be as beneficial to me as it is for the kids. Our first meeting went great. We discussed the different types of journaling, and that a journal is not just a “diary,” but can be a place to express all types of creativity. We’re going to have a monthly theme or prompt, and I look forward to seeing what the kids come up with. As an adjunct to this group, we’re also going to work on a homeschooling newsletter, so that should be fun, too!
Joe started up a Learn to Play hockey class this month. He went last season a few times, and really enjoyed it. He’s definitely a competitive kid. We work on continually telling him the old cliché of “it’s not who wins, but how you play the game that matters.” But, it’s great exercise and he really is a good sport. He listens well to the coach, too. I think Darren enjoys taking him, too. It’s kind of their thing. I will try to go a few times this season to cheer him on and take some pictures. He’s growing so fast. It’s hard to believe his sixth birthday is just around the corner.
The highlight of this month was a visit from our niece, Samantha. She’s the daughter of Darren’s brother’s first wife. The last time we saw her she was thirteen or so. She’s now twenty-one and wanted to venture down to the States from Ontario for a visit. She spent a couple weeks tagging along with us to our regular activities, and we took a couple day trips to Gettysburg and DC.
On the 20th, we all went along to Flo’s friend, Emma’s, birthday party at Adventure Park USA. Flo enjoyed herself, and she and Samantha had a great time riding the go karts. Joe rode along with Darren in one, too. However, Joseph didn’t do so well with all the stimulation and when it was time to leave, he had to be carried out, mad because he didn’t have enough tickets from playing the games to trade in for the “prize” he wanted. I think we’re all adventured out for awhile!
On the 22nd, our geography club met for a monthly potluck luncheon. This month the country was France. Once again, Samantha tagged along. Flo shared a little bit about France that she had looked up, and we brought Potage au Potiron (French Pumpkin Soup) which we veganized. It was very tasty!
During Samantha’s visit, our friend Jen and her son, Conner, also were in the area and were going to just stay over one night. However, their car broke down, and they ended up here for three nights. Their usual guest suite in the basement was being occupied by Samantha, so we cleared out the kids’ rooms for a couple nights for them. Surprisingly, even having multiple guests, it wasn’t too disconcerting. Everyone seemed to enjoy visiting.
On the 25th, while Jen and Conner were still at our house, hoping their car would be done (which it wasn’t), Samantha, Flo, Zofia and I headed down to DC for the day to show Samantha the sights. Joe stayed home for the day with Grandma. I think Samantha was more interested in all the vegetarian food options, than the historical sites. We enjoyed trying a couple places and going to Whole Foods Market. We walked around downtown and saw a few monuments, and headed to the Smithsonian later in the afternoon, just in time to arrive when they were closing! Oh well! Samantha didn’t wear comfortable shoes, so by the time we rode the metro back to our car, her feet were blistered and we were wet and tired. But, we stopped for dinner at Whole Foods in Rockville on the way home, and then the drive home wasn’t too bad. But, overall, it was an enjoyable day.
Samantha left on the 29th, and that pretty much wrapped up our month. Reflecting on the month, I felt a little too busy and overscheduled, and would like to focus on spending more relaxing time at home. Sometimes it’s hard to weigh the benefit of a class or activity for the kids against the effort expended to get there and disrupt the flow of the day. We generally get more accomplished academically, and just in general, when we have a stretch of a couple days that we’re home and not running around somewhere. So, again, we’ll continue to strive towards that balance!