I know it is a bit late to write this, but I still have to.
My first day of school, I woke up at 7:00, and made a first day of sixth grade sign. Then we took some photos. After Evelyn left, I double checked my backpack to make sure I had everything. After a quick breakfast, we left for school. My first class was Advisory, or Homeroom. Then, I went to choir, my first elective. Then, I went to science, for which I have the same teacher as Advisory. My third class was art, and then it was lunch time. After lunch, it was time for my fourth class, and my last class. Mom and me decided that we would have me go part time, so she could home school me the other part.
I notice that the sixth graders wander around to get to their classes. I think they are still getting used to the school. The eighth graders tend to travel in groups to their next classes, talking all the way. I also see that they never get caught. I wonder how that is?
Right now, my favorite class in school is art. I wonder if this will change over the semester. So far, that is the only class that we are doing any sort of work related to the subject. I really hope we will be doing some actual academics soon. I am especially excited for science. I cannot wait to use the microscopes in the classroom!
I am enjoying school so far. I see all my friends on a daily basis, and I hope that stays the same. I am very happy at Aki!
On the eastern side of the Cascades lies the 55-mile-long Lake Chelan. At the southern end of the lake is the town of Chelan with its brown, dry hills lying in the high desert of Eastern Washington. The northern end of the lake extends into the North Cascades National Park, and at this far end is the town of Stehekin. With just 85 year-round residents and just 22 miles of roads, Stehekin is very isolated. It can be reached only by ferry, by sea plane or by hiking in through the Cascades. In the summertime it’s a popular tourist attraction, and its population swells. Mom and I were intrigued by the idea of making this trip up Lake Chelan to this tiny community.
The “Lady of the Lake” takes passengers up the lake to Stehekin in just 2 ½ hours. The brown hills surrounding Chelan are replaced by the steep, rugged Cascade Mountains as we made the 51-mile trip. Forest fires on the western side of the lake left the trees charred, black and no foliage. The lake is fed by 27 glaciers. Stehekin is a center of activity, for boats and barges make their way up the lake to the dock here to support the town and many hikers. Since the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) passes only a few miles from Stehekin, hikers on the PCT get supplies needed for their trek along that arduous trail.
We had lunch and dinner at the North Cascades Lodge where we stayed overnight. In the afternoon I hiked 2 miles to the pastry shop and then hiked the 2 miles back to the Lodge. In the 100+ degree heat this was no small undertaking, but I wanted to do something. The pastry shop was busy with delicious pies and buns, much needed after the hike in that heat.
In one of the local Indian languages “stehekin” means the way through. It’s a gateway into a remote, secluded but beautiful spot in the Northwest. It’s totally separated from the hustle and bustle in of our metropolitan centers. No internet, no TV, A/C. After dinner we sat by the lake for an hour just enjoying time pass by and watched the setting of the sun through the mountains. It was peaceful and refreshing.
A couple of weeks ago in July, I went to my first sleepaway camp. It was super fun, and I want to go again next year. I made new friends, did really cool new things, and had an entirely new experience. I am not going to reveal my new friends names, as that would be a violation of privacy, but I will tell you some of the things I did. I learned how to shoot a bow and arrow, I did some amazing arts and crafts, and stuck my face into a pan of whipped cream!
Ha! I bet some of you actually believed I did that, didn’t you. Well, it’s a good thing you did, because I actually did do it. I’ll show you the video later. Any way, I had a really fun time, and I was very happy there. It was the first time I was really “alone”. Well, my cousin Ellie was there, but since she is younger than me, we were not often together except for at mealtimes.
I cannot wait to go again next year. Oh, by the way, here are some photos and videos of me at camp.
I drove abbey up to Cascade Camp Cedarbrook today. This is her first overnight camp, which means it’s the longest that she’s gone away from home on her own. Cyn & I discussed that there are a few times when WE have left the home on a trip, but we usually leave the kiddos with a friend or family member… so that makes this different because in this case, Abbey is the one doing the leaving.
I just talked to a friend about when she dropped her child off at college, and how that separation felt so real and difficult. I know that dropping your child off at camp is not the same thing as college, but as I watched her walk towards her cabin, and disappear from view, I felt a small piece of that separation.
This last week was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of 3 families being able to spend time together. We went to Nashville to spend 5 days with Uncle Ras & Uncle Maas & their families. Maas & Ras & I have been taking trips with each other for 20+ years. Each time we get together (even 20 years ago!), we dreamt of not just having a life-long friendship, but our families (and our kids) knowing each other, too. But it was always difficult to pull off: Calendars matching, kids’ activities, cost of travel, what to do… all these things got in our way. So I was immensely proud that we were able to, for the first time, pull off a trip that was for all 3 families.
I come from the Middle of the Country. This “middle-ness” has always resonated with me, but none so much as over the last year. Though I love living on the West Coast, there are just some things that the West Coast doesn’t get: things like friendliness, belief, neighborliness, and earnestness. And I miss those things. The West Coast is filled with many wonderful things, but it’s missing some great things too. So it is with great pleasure that we were able to organize a trip with Uncle Ras & Uncle Maas. The fam would get a chance to spend some quality time in the Middle of the Country!
But there’s nothing that could have made me happier than genuine connections being made. A&E said that their favorite part of the trip was that “they got a chance to meet their cousins” (“cousins” here meaning the children from the other two families), and loved meeting Aunt Amy & Beth, and that they were looking forward to other such gatherings. Hearing these connections being made makes all the difference.
A: we should stop at this log cabin Mom: but we’ve already stopped at many cabins. Don’t you want to get going? A; but mom, seeing these cabins is like a history lesson in the summer . Combined with the biking, this is like exercise AND a history lesson at the same time! Why do you want us to just move along?
Cyn remarked to me over the last few days that Abbey is becoming more and more of a mature young person (as opposed to “my little girl” which I always think of her as :)). From the ideas she is comprehending, the books she is reading, to the subjects she is talking about with her friends and us, she is clearly maturing.
That’s obviously a wonderful thing. But it also makes me sad because I wish she wouldn’t “grow up so fast”, as they all do.
What a wonderful day! There are few days that can make me more proud than when my child chooses to follow God in her life. And Evie did it in a very “Evie way”: with lots of going back and forth, lots of deliberation, and then finally following through and being really excited and proud of it.