The boys and I finish out the last two weeks of the school year, which we didn't get to before the summer rush, and then I begin planning the next one, pulling out and organizing the books and materials we will use. My house has been neglected for an entire summer, and there are many things that need to be organized and put away, many areas that need tidied up. Ben is ready for bigger clothes, so I pull out the tub of size 6/7 clothes and put them away in his closet, then bag the clothes he has outgrown for donation to the camp's clothing closet. I still haven't finished getting everything in order to file our taxes, so I spend several days working hard to finish this project. I also write and send a family newsletter. I feel like I am playing catch-up on so many things I've gotten behind on over the past several weeks.
On the way in to Quito for some errands one day with Rusty, our Nissan overheats and breaks down on the side of the highway. We have been having problems with it for some time, and this is frustrating, especially since my parents are coming to visit soon and we will be going to the beach with them. We have it hauled to our mechanic in Quito and he keeps it for a few days and makes a few repairs. Later, we find out that we need to have the motor rebuilt, an expensive undertaking that we don't have the funds for right now. Thankfully, Rusty's Landrover, which has been in the shop for over a year having body work done to convert it from a pickup to a wagon, is at least drivable by this point, so we have a car to drive while we try to make a decision about the Nissan.
Elizabeth's first day of preschool is on September 10. The first day is just the opening ceremony, and the rest of the week, she is home each day before lunch. So, it is an easy and gentle introduction to school for her. She has a great first week!
Rusty attends the Global Member Care Conference in Quito during the second week in September. This conference is focused on educating and training those who provide care to missionaries or cross-cultural workers. He has a great time and makes some new friends and contacts.
The camp ladies come back to work in mid-September after two weeks off. They spend a couple of days cleaning, sorting and folding piles of clean sheets, and organizing and setting up their classrooms for another year of the After School Program, which will begin on Monday. I put their supply boxes together and help set up the library.
On Saturday, September 15th, Rusty takes the three boys to their first baseball practice of the season. I stay home, finally finish our taxes(!), prep food for our beach trip next week, and decorate the house for fall! I want to do this now because I will be gone for the next nearly 3 weeks, and then when I get back, I'll be busy for a couple of weeks before traveling again.
On Sunday, we head to church at Pisulí, then go out to lunch and do some grocery shopping. There is a huge hailstorm in Quito that afternoon. In some sections, the hail is over a foot deep! From a distance, it looks like snow. Isabel calls us to say that she won't be coming into work tomorrow because her house has flooded. We decide to go over and try to help her family. Rusty and Alex help her husband shovel hail off their roof before the melting ice can cause more damage to what's inside the house. Aside from everything getting a good soaking, the only casualty to their belongings is a chipboard cupboard, which we offer to help her replace.
Monday September 17th is the first day of After School Program. It's great to see all the kids again after the summer vacation! I spend the day packing and getting ready for the beach. Rusty loads the car. We eat dinner and then head out. First stop -- the airport to pick up my parents who will be spending the next 2.5 months in Ecuador! We stay the night at the Marcum's (they are currently in the U.S. on furlough, but their house makes a nice stopover and will shorten our drive to the beach tomorrow).
The next day, we continue our journey to the coast, finally arriving at Tonsupa and our friends' condo about 5:00 p.m. We will spend the next week here enjoying some rest, relaxation, and family time.
We pass our days playing in the waves, digging in the sand, swimming in the pools, playing games, doing puzzles, reading, watching movies, enjoying beautiful sunsets, and eating yummy seafood. One morning, we take a boat ride out to the Isla de los Pajaros so my parents can see birds. They really love birding, and Ecuador is quite the place for it! We see frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. Another day, we take the kids to the Aqua Park. Rusty and I have agreed to help our friends with the purchase of a new fridge for the condo, so we head into the city one afternoon to make the purchase and then have dinner at a restaurant on the beach. Mom and Dad keep the kids -- grandparents are awesome!
All too soon, our family vacation is over and it's time to head home. We drive back to Tabacundo via Mindo, stopping for a late lunch and to visit the butterfly farm. We arrive home in time for dinner. I have one day at home to do laundry, and repack my bags before leaving for Brazil. Mom and Dad will be staying with Rusty and the kids next week while I am gone, and she will be in charge of meals, so I take her grocery shopping and show her around my kitchen.
I travel to Brazil on Saturday, July 29th. Jerica and I travel together. We fly to Bogota, then to São Paulo. We make our way to the Monreale Hotel, where we will be staying for the next two nights. The Connections conference doesn't begin until Monday afternoon, but because of flight schedules, this was the best option for the money. It is nice to have a day in between traveling and the beginning of the conference to rest and do a little work at the hotel.
September moments (clockwise from top left):
- First day of preschool for Elizabeth!
- Back to homeschool with my crew
- Boat ride to the Isla de los Pajaros
- Mom and Dad enjoying the lazy river with Stephen
- Fun in the pool
- "Back to routine" means back to piano lessons and practice. My mom gave the boys several lessons while she was here.