Summer 2013 is coming to a close. I’ll be the one kicking and screaming all the way to next Tuesday.

Sigh.

This is how we spent our summer and I pray yours was equally relaxing, fun and family-centered. Oh, 6am wake-up calls, I am SO not ready for you.

We enjoyed some serious God time, lots of singing, dancing and making new friends. Vacation Bible School is probably my most favorite week of the year, right behind my birthday. Oh wait, I did them BOTH in the same week this summer. The kids had an absolute blast and we’re still singing the songs in the van. I love it when I hear a little voice from the backseat say, “Mommy, can you put on the VBS CD?” Why yes, yes I can.

Anna-Laura was known as the resident dancer of the family. Even my teenage helpers looked to her for all the moves. Luke lived it up in the nursery (a far cry from prior years), Clare definitely enjoyed being a part of the “big kid” activities, John Paul managed to stay out of trouble and Will enjoyed his last year as a participant. I still can’t believe that. When I first started leading the ministry he was a soon-to-be kindergartner. Now look at him, all big seventh grader and all. So proud!

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Art is a big deal at Team Whitaker. Call it my graphic design brain and my love for all things painted, but we make it a priority to expose our children to the arts. Sadly, there’s no permanent art teacher at their school until sixth grade; I know, it makes me sad, too. That doesn’t keep me from praying for one, though! We’ve been attending Celeste Robbin’s art camp since Will was in kindergarten. That’s how awesome it is. Just look at their masterpieces from this summer. I’m running out of wall space! One of the best parts of camp is they see the same kids every summer and their creations are nothing short of spectacular. I am still in awe that Celeste gets such creativity out of them. This year, they made some fantastic Picasos, a ceramic cup and saucer, some 3D art, watercolors and more. I’m seriously having a hard time deciding which pieces to put where.

On the last day, they host an Art Show, and you should see the pride on the kids’ faces. Priceless. Camp always fills up fast, so if art is your gig, register early! It’s one of the most expensive camps we do all summer, but I start paying in January and that helps spread out the cost.

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The red, white and blue this summer may have been our best one yet. Watching fireworks while sitting on a boat in the middle of the lake, surrounded by people you love? Yes, please. The Nash’s were such gracious hosts. I still can’t believe we’ve been invited back. Must be that Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka we brought.

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If your kids are like mine, you may hear a lot of “I don’t want to eat that, it looks yucky” or “I don’t want to go to bed” or “Why can’t you put up my laundry?” Enter the BEST CAMP EVER, Mobile Loaves and Fishes Camp. We heard rave reviews about this from several friends last summer, and with it being super affordable (even more so if you volunteer), I decided to sign up the three oldest this year. They came home with a changed heart, a beautiful attitude toward helping the homeless, a desire to be a proactive volunteer in the community and an appreciation for the blessings all around them. Yes, this camp was just that awesome. It’s not often a camp changes your kids’ hearts, and yours, in one week. This one did just that. I’m happy to say the kids helped create 30 survival bags and there’s nary a trip out the door when one of them asks, “Mom, did you grab a bag for the homeless?”

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For the past several years, my parents have gifted the kids with a week at Golf Camp, just minutes from their house in South Austin. It’s always a family favorite and with our oldest playing on the school golf team this year, it was even more fun. Coach Lonnie focuses on the fundamentals of golf, as well as the equally important lessons of patience, perseverance, manners and the like. Golf is such a polite sport and Lonnie does an amazing job instilling that same respect in my children. In addition, my parents took the big four all week and we were left with Luke. It was a crazy awesome break. Thanks, Nana and Papa, for the gift of camp and the gift of time together!

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In addition to all those wonderful weeks, we spent a fair amount of time at the pool, enjoying some slip ‘n slide, hanging with family (new nephew Jack!) and eating plenty of ice cream. Oh, and hanging at the hospital. But you’ll get THAT story on Friday!

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7 Comments

  1. verdinalouisa on August 14, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Every day is an adventure with Team Whitaker! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    God bless!
    V

  2. Tricia on August 14, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Wow! Love all the camps you did! It’s inspiring me to look into that for next summer for Jack!
    Glad your Lukey is doing well, can’t wait to hear the update on him- you must be so relieved that surgery is behind you!

  3. Valerie on August 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Definitely looks like you had a fantastic summer! BTW…my kiddos go to a really tiny parochial school. In fact, it is so small that all the grade levels are combined…except 4th grade…b/c they actually have 14 kids to make a class…but I digress. My point is that we pulled Mary Catherine from public school where there was an incredible arts program (huge public school district). And while, the arts is not all that school is about…it is THE gift that many children are blessed with from God and if your kiddo is one of those kiddos and there’s no art/music program…well, I know exactly how you feel. So, as I turned it over to God…and bawled through the HORRIBLE Christmas program (basically kids only mouthed the words to Away in a Manager while up on the altar), I told myself that I could provide my kiddos (especially Mary) with outside art/music opportunities. And I can.

    But you know, God. He is so big…and so awesome. And the music teacher (of 14+ years) up and quit that following January…and he sent Mrs. E. this opera-trained, Broadway performing music/art blessing to our tiny, on-the-verge of collapsing, Catholic school.

    And the turn-around with the music program has been amazing. In addition to beginning a 4-8th grade music choir…she puts on the most amazing Spring Musicals and has helped the kids fall in love with the Arts. Next Friday night, Mary Catherine is performing as Little Nala (solo, Lion King Medley) for the Kansas City Zoo’s annual fundraiser, Kids JAZZOO.

    Amazing things are happening…and God will send you an ART teacher when the timing is right!!! I truly believe it!!!

    Wishing you and your kiddos an awesome start to the school year.

    • Kathryn on August 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Now THAT’S an answer to prayer. I already have the teacher picked out, I’m just waiting on God 😉 We will see what He has in store. It is always way more spectacular than my plan. I’ll keep you posted. And, congrats to your Mary Catherine. You must be so proud!

  4. Nicole on August 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I can’t imagine sending my kids to sleepaway camp. Day camp was hard enough on me! Sounds like you have all had an amazing summer.

    • Kathryn on August 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      I’ll admit it was easier to send the boys than it was my daughter, but she ended up loving it!

  5. Jen on August 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    “Stand Strong when life changes, Stand strong through the ups and downs…” we are still singing Kingdom Rock songs too!!! They were fantastic!!!

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