My daughter is asserting her independence through her hair. She has been wanting to get it cut really short and, since a child's hairstyle is not a hill on which I am willing to die, she and I worked together to find a hairstyle that was acceptable, in that it was not actually modeled by a boy in the hair book and it WAS modeled by a girl, not a woman. My husband teased her when we got home by saying that she now looks like Justin Bieber.
Before the dust storm, we had a pillowcase/wii party with a neighboring family. The moms worked together to make pillowcases for an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which you can learn more about by clicking on my link, We Are Blessed to Be a Blessing. The kids played wii while we sewed, which made everyone happy, or relatively happy. I was happy to have someone to share the sewing load and to help me persevere after messing up on a really easy pattern. Altogether, we made 10 pillows that day and my friend sewed 12 pillows on another day. It did confirm that I really dislike sewing in general but enjoy sewing something simple with friends.
For three solid weeks, at least one kid was involved in some kind of camp. Jessi was in the Phoenix Zoo's "FutureVet" program the second week in June. The next week, Elz was in their "Junior Zookeeper" camp and Kyle was taking their "Into the Wild" program. The Zoo's all-day camp lasted from 8 to 3 with a couple of dousings at their Yakula Caverns water play area to stay cool in the heat. All the kids had a chance to meet zookeepers, vets, prepare food and learn more about taking care of animals. I give the zoo high marks for organization and for excellence in content as they stuck to facts of animal care and zoo maintenance without bringing up either theories of origination.
I had a blast with John and whichever child was not attending camp. Kyle also attended Boy scout camp with Eric at R Bar C near Payson, AZ. He played games, learned how to whittle, made a leather pouch, rode a horse (which was NOT the most pleasant experience for him) and other fun and exciting things.
The last week of camping fun involved Summer Bible Camp at Redemption Church in Gilbert, AZ. This year, the theme involved private detectives Justin Case and Natasha Mygarbagetruckfellonitside. They were solving mysteries from Matthew 5:3-12. The large group presentation was AWESOME as were the games and crafts. Jessi, Kyle and John were attending while Elz and I worked on the snack crew. Elz is officially too old for Summer Bible Camp/VBS (sniff, sniff).
The boys took swimming lessons with a neighbor again for two weeks. The Tuesday after our July 4th celebration, she had a little swimming party for all of her students. That ended when Eric pointed out the big black cloud as the reason we needed to go. He (or was I the one?) thought it was a big thunderstorm cloud. The rest of the people weren't fooled. Cries of "dust storm" broke out and within 30 seconds the pool was empty and within another minute, everyone had vacated the property. We had walked to the party and hadn't quite made it home when the storm reached us. It wasn't too horrible to experience, with the exception of getting dust in the eyes and teeth, though pool towels helped limit that. Visibility was reduced to 1/2 a block within seconds of the storm hitting. I think if we had to drive, it would have been worse, though because of the visibility problems. Most dust storms get broken up by Gilbert, way to the south of us, so we knew it had to be pretty big. We didn't realize exactly how BIG it was until the next day, when we watched the news programs and saw videos on youtube. It was big enough to be on Russian news! It did mean cleaning up the house because, in the short time it took to get six humans inside one door and two dogs inside the other, a heck of a lot of dust blew in the house. Also, I had to clean the back porch the next day so that when we came in from swimming, we would track muddy footprints on the newly cleaned floor. I also cleaned the front porch and had Elz clean the pool deck. The blacktop was brown. Everything, in fact was brown.
July is half over at this point. The Overtooms have a camping trip in the near future and attendence of the Arizona Christian Home Educators conference in the nearer future. The kids and I might also spend a week with my Grandma C in a cabin up in Pinetop, AZ, high enough to escape the heat, which waned a little this week with more storms passing through the area. And, of course, swimming is almost a daily activity, even though the water is not much cooler than bathwater.