I hope you feel like staying awhile...
Whew! That was a long break! I'm back to post an update, but I'm not sure I will post on any regular basis unfortunately because we are SO busy. It seems everyone is nowadays. How 'bout you?
We had a great summer and we are well into our school & fall sport schedule.
Some of the things we did over the summer were:
* Ran our 2nd half marathon - technically that happened in early May.
* We re-stained our deck. That on the whole is boring news, however it was a really big deal considering the time it took (3-4 weeks), not to mention the ghastly amount of gallons to do 2 coats (13 to be exact!!), and it looks fantastic!
*We went to the Outer Banks, NC for our family vacation and that was our first time there. We loved it! On the way down, we stopped at Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh to have one of those famous "samiches" that has homemade French fries and coleslaw on it. It was aired on Triple D, but since we lived there for a few years back in the mid 90's we had tried Primanti before. Double yum! Call us lame, but we stop by that famous dance place called the, "Abby Lee Dance Co.". She's raunchy, but it sucks you in. One time they showed Abby going into a bakery downtown so we tried that, too. Whilst we were visiting our old stomping grounds, we showed the kids our first apartment which housed mostly older folks. We were clearly the youngest tenants, and newly married nonetheless. We even had to buy an artificial Christmas tree as a courtesy to them there older folks because of the fire hazard. All in all it was a nice first place!
*I painted my front door. Wow, what an exciting summer! I know, I can't even contain the excitement over this list I'm posting.
*Shawn planted a huge, very fruitful garden this summer. We have potatoes coming out of our ears! His garden was fantastic and a great hobby for him.
*We went to graduation open houses for two of our nephews, Brad and Andrew, among others and a couple of weddings. At the open houses I took notes because a certain firstborn in this family will be graduating in June.
Yes, Austin is officially a senior! Shawn and I sat down the other day after talking with Austin over the past couple of months about college choices and possible majors and scheduled visits to a couple of schools. We'll be heading to Michigan State University in a couple of weeks and next stop will be to Purdue in October. He has wanted to be a Boilermaker like his dad since he was a little boy. Out of state tuition is N.G! (no good in Jersey speak). I guess I am quietly hoping he'll choose MSU so he's much closer to home. But as these sorts of things go, God has plans for that young man and may His will be done, not mine.
I'm not sure I have any idea of how many times this happened over the summer, but that young man had one golf club or another in his hands while on the greens of Binder Park Golf Course. He has loved the game of golf since we lived in England where he took lessons from a bloke named Steve at Lymm Golf Club just a few miles from our home there. Austin might even trade in his baseball bat next spring to play on Marshall's golf team. Gasp!! Somehow that makes me a little sad as I have been a baseball mom since he was about 4. Again, I have to give up my little control to let Austin grow, change, mature, and make choices of his very own. I really am not a control freak, but I like some measure of it anyway. He is entirely into his golf game these days that he put the golf clubs he received as a Christmas gift in England on E-bay to earn some cash to pay for new-to-him clubs that his friend, Jared, is selling him. He has also been able to purchase one here and there on E-bay to round out the set.
Austin continues to work at Schuler's Restaurant in Marshall bus-ing tables and has kept consistently busy there since July. June was a different story. Week after week he was not being scheduled for work, and we all got a little worried about the lack of funds in his wallet. No funds = cash from our wallets for gas especially since he is a taxi driver part-time for the Busse crew. ;)
Lately I've seen Austin's boyish looks slowly changing into that of a young man. He melts my heart.
Lately I've seen Austin's boyish looks slowly changing into that of a young man. He melts my heart.
Braaten Noelle, my 15 year old, and a sophomore this year, is beautiful inside and out. She was nominated last winter to be in the winter court at Marshall High for the Freshman class. She was honored. She was also nominated to Student Council at the end of last year and that has been keeping her busy.
The sophomore class' fundraiser comes from the concession stand during varsity football games. Guess who is in charge of finding able bodies to work the stand? Braaten! Guess how many of her peers don't want to work during fun football games? Most, if not all, of them. Guess who got roped into helping run that operation? Shawn, Grant, Cooper, and I!! What's a family to do?? We are all-for-one and one-for-all. She needed the help. We gave it. Simple as that. It turns out that we all had fun doing it and we'll be back there this Friday night.
My girl played volleyball as a freshman. She tried out again last month and it turned out that she was cut. It seems that Shawn and I were a lot more disappointed that she didn't make the team than she was. She had a sense of relief and honestly seems o.k. I cried when I got the news. Shawn and I were away for a couple of days and weren't around when Austin let us know through a text. I was at the beach in South Haven with tears forming behind my sunglasses. We were looking forward to watching her spike the ball at the net. She was a very good player, but not as strong as some. We loved watching her play. I suppose there is always next year, but with how competitive the sport is, I'm not sure she will try.
She does great in school academically and is friendly to all of her peers. If someone crosses the line, though, she is quick to correct them. Standing up for what is right is important to her. That's not easy to do and I'm proud of her for it.
Bray loves Instagram, Twitter, and getting inspiration from Pinterest. She has all kinds of boards on her page. She loves vintage clothes with a modern flare. Hmm... I'm not sure I captured her style, but I tried.
Braaten enjoys photography and will have her first opportunity as a second shooter during a wedding at the end of October. She is thrilled to be able to do that. She has done a couple of high school senior shoots and did a great job.
Melanie Grace is in 8th grade at MMS (Marshall Middle School). She loves spending time with her friends and misses the ones that moved away. Mel cherishes all of her friendships. I love that about her. She's devoted.
She recently made the 8th grade volleyball team. Her first volleyball game is this Thursday in Coldwater, MI. She was the labero on her AAU tournament team from January to June. The twins would often ask her if she got any good "la bears" during her games. That's funny to me. :) I can't wait to see how she does on the court for the Redhawks.
At the end of 7th grade Melanie received various academic and citizenship awards. We're really proud of how hard she works. She also got 3rd place during her science fair back in the spring.
Mel went to kids camp through our church again just a few weeks ago. It was a very powerful and impacting experience for her. She loved all the girls in her cabin and her leaders which are two beautiful young ladies. They love and serve the Lord passionately. When camp was over she was actually a little depressed for about a day. She wanted so badly to be with all of those young ladies that love Jesus like her.
My girl loves singing, dancing, swimming, and watching movies. She is signed up for 3 dance classes starting this week. Thankfully they are just about 3 in a row on Wednesday nights with a one hour break somewhere in there. She will be one tired puppy on Thursdays!
Grant Matthew is in the 6th grade at home with me and boy do I love that! This is my 10th year homeschooling. My, how time flies! I really love being at home teaching and experiencing life with the twins each and every day. It's an adventure. Of course it has its challenges, but blessings are way more abundant than any complaints I might have.
Grant is 11 and will be 12 on Christmas Eve. He loves making creations with his Legos and making little movies with a Lego app. It's so cool. I really should post one on here someday.
Baseball is the sport he likes the most. He plays second or third base. The boys played for the same team they played on last summer- the Marshall Indians. It's always fun to watch them play.
Grant is definitely my goofball! He loves to make people laugh with his antics. When he was little we dubbed them "Grantics" as in Grant's antics. He's just funny.
Cooper Nathaniel, also 11... obviously. He's Grant's twin. It's always tempting to lump the boys together, which I do often, but I know it's important to recognize them as individuals. They do everything together and enjoy all of the same things, not to mention play the same sports, have the same friends, serve in the same ministry at church, etc, etc. Ya see?! They lump together so beautifully.
Now back to Cooper... Coop loves to draw. He and Grant both make comic books that are amazing. I'll have to take pictures of the books and post them on here, too. You just have to see them! Whenever they receive the Lego magazine in the mail, they go right to creating their own personalized Lego magazine. Every month they want to send it to the Lego company in hopes it will be published.
Cooper loves baseball like his twin and usually pitches or plays first base. They have both played basketball for Upward which is an organized church basketball league. It's not very competitive so this year I'd like to see them play on a new league in case they'd like to play in school in the coming years. We'll see how that goes.
Grant and Cooper (I'm lumping again) also went to kids camp with church and it is ABSOLUTELY the highlight of their year. One of our pastors put a little bug in our ears to serve as a family. We are considering it for next August. We'll see. Boy will that be a stretch for me. I like being home, but I love being obedient more. If God has that plan for us, we'll do it!
And this is Hayley R. She is my friend, Bree's daughter. This year I get to homeschool her as well. Talk about being on an adventure. She is terrific! The "adventure" is not about home educating Hayley, but it's about me being outside of my comfortable little box and doing what we feel is the Lord's calling this year. Different people have jokingly, and maybe not so jokingly, said to me through the years that they wished I would homeschool one or all of their children, to which I would laugh at and think, five children are enough! Not this time! God knows the plans He has for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me... His plan for this 12 year old young lady is join the boys in school and learn here at the Busse Homestead. God's grace is sufficient for me and I choose to do His will.
It's not always easy, but it gives me peace at the end of the day.
That, my friends, is a little glimpse into our family. How have you been?