As we head into the final stretch of her sophomore year, Charis is taking on more and more responsibility both inside and outside the home. Beginning today she will babysit a little boy (one month younger than Rhema) one day a week for additional income. I'm sure she will actually find it easier to get her schoolwork done in a house with only one child, ha! Her biology co-op class has a few more sessions, and while it's not her favorite subject, she is totally rocking it. She's determined to "catch up" to where she thinks she needs to be with math, so she just started her Math-U-See Geometry book and hopes to do both that and Algebra II before 2016 finishes. She is about 3/4 of the way through Sonlight's American History core and is also doing an elective, "Understanding the Times." Her piano and violin skills are growing by leaps and bounds--what a difference a wonderful teacher can make! Charis is already gearing up for a busy summer with various camps, a missions trip, and teaching 5-day clubs. While she is already a huge help to our big family, caring for littles when needed (I try not to overload her!) and helping with meal prep, she looks forward to the day when she can help out by driving herself various places! I'm sure October will be here before we know it and I'll be watching her drive away...
Yesterday was Tobin's 14th birthday! It was a bacon-y sort of day...a middle-of-the-week birthday can be difficult to make special, especially when one's baby brother is sick with a raging fever, but we did our best to accommodate his food requests! Bacon and eggs for breakfast, BLTs on homemade bread for lunch, lasagna for dinner (store bought! I have a limit!!), and bacon-grease-drizzled popcorn for after-youth-group snack. The boy loves bacon! He also loves to stand as close as he can, grinning at how close he is getting to me in height. Since schoolwork doesn't seem to take him nearly as long as I might hope, he is on a quest to finish this book list on his own...yes, even the preschool selections (which I sometimes hear him reading to his little sibs). He continues to enjoy time on the online Khan Academy modules--I ask him (and Arden) to spend any morning Khan time on math, science, history, and/or art, while the afternoon is reserved for computer programming/tweaking. He continues to be involved in Boy Scouts and hopes to earn enough money to return to Camp Cedars. Along with Arden and Charis, he has applied to attend the Christian Youth in Action training camp in June with a commitment to teach four five-day clubs throughout the summer. While moving has never been easy on our boy, he has found his stride and enjoys our church and youth group activities with new friends.
Arden graciously allowed Tobin to move into his bedroom during a room overhaul, and though there was some good-natured groaning about giving up their private bedrooms, I honestly think the two are delighted to be back together. (Mom and Dad aren't too sure about that, since their room is across the hall from ours and we hear them much later at night than we want!) While the two brothers are often inseparable, they are each unique in personality even if they share a boatload of common interests, including Legos, library books, and lounging. Arden often wanders into the kitchen to ask what he can do to help, and one of the best ways he helps without even asking is simply playing with or reading to the younger boys, who adore playing with him. He loves eating and is so enthusiastic about my efforts! It's a delight to see him grin when he sees what's headed to the table for dinner, gasping, "Oh, thanks, Mom! This looks delicious!" As the weather turns nicer, he and Tobin have the opportunity to earn some money from our across-the-street neighbor who has asked them to mow her lawn. Arden took the first turn last week, braving the wind and taking Lucan and Zaden along to help pick up sticks. (The little boys are trying to earn money for more Legos! Lucan got the bug after getting some "real" Lego sets for his recent birthday!)
I'm so grateful to have these three amazing kids! As I still deal with potty training and nursing a baby at night, it's a blessing to be able to have mature conversations with Charis, Tobin, and Arden. And their sense of humor is also a blessing! I love how they can make me laugh! They all have tender hearts for the Lord and a love for the people He places in their lives. What a privilege and delight to watch them blossoming.