Wowzer, what a month! We’ve been busy, which is why this May update is coming to you a few days into June. Read on for a recap of all things Jernejcic family this past month!
// READING LATELY //
I’ve been plowing through thrillers lately, and some have been better than others. This book wins for most compulsive read and, though well written, was not to my taste—mostly because it left me with nightmares for days. This book was also a fast read but the plot really unraveled (with a better editing, it could have been fantastic). This mystery and this one were both quality reads that I really enjoyed and would recommend. Two books that I loved right up until their not-so-great endings were this graphic novel and this high-profile book that is receiving a lot of undeserved (IMHO) accolades. This novel was great, but I wish I hadn’t done it on audio.
In nonfiction, I read this helpful parenting book and devoured this collection of essays. Charleston and I absolutely loved this kids book from one of my favorite writers/teachers/speakers. This was the first month in quite a while where I read more on Kindle or print (eight books) than audio (six books). Audiobooks have not had as much appeal for me lately, one reason being a new diversion that’s occupying my listening time (see below!).
// LISTENING LATELY //
Did you listen to Adventures in Odyssey when you were younger? The audio dramas from Focus on the Family were a HUGE part of my childhood and adolescence, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the day when I could introduce Odyssey to Charleston. We’ve tried a few episodes in the past and he wasn’t really into them, but this month we tried again and he loved it! We subscribed to the Adventures in Odyssey Club, and it’s awesome: for just $10/month you can stream more than 900 episodes and several Odyssey videos. You also get access to daily devotions, exclusive membership content, podcasts, and even a free subscription to Clubhouse magazine. We downloaded the app to my phone and Charleston’s ipad and have been listening nonstop while we play or work around the house and when he goes to sleep at night. So far we have only listened to the earlier episodes that I grew up with, and it’s amazing how clearly I can remember them, nearly thirty years later. I’m looking forward to listening to some of the more recent episodes I haven’t heard yet—but only after I’ve shared all of my favorites with Charleston. I can’t begin to express how happy it makes me that we are able to share this together!
// MONTHLY CHARLIE-ISMS //
It was a big month for Charleston, who finished off his first year of school a few weeks ago. Homeschooling him for Kindergarten had its challenges but I wouldn’t change a thing, and am looking forward to many more years of schooling at home. I enjoyed our one-on-one learning time together, and his participation in his weekly extracurricular program and sports days were such a blessing. I am proud of how much Charleston has grown academically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually this year. We are taking a summer break from schoolwork, and Charleston has deemed these next few months “Kinder and a Half” as he’s not yet ready to concede that he is a First Grader.
And now, for this month’s Charlie-isms:
+ When we read a book in which God is referred to as our Dad: “God calls himself our father, not our dad. They’re different. Isn’t a father a little bit more grumpy and tough than a dad?”
+ “It’s true what they say, it’s cozier with family.” Me: “Really? Who says that?” Charleston: “No one. I don’t know. I’m just sure somebody says it somewhere.”
+ When Kali was hugging money she received from her great grandmother: “It’s not good to love money, but she sure does like it. I mean, who doesn’t like money?”
+ To his counselors at camp when they asked if they were the best teachers ever: “No, God is the best teacher ever.”
// TWIN CORNER //
Our whole family was hit with colds this month and the twins took it especially hard, seemingly trading the same cold back and forth for over two weeks. It was hard to see them not feeling well and not acting themselves, and we are relieved their smiles, health, and good moods are finally back. And of course, they have remained just as cute as ever. Current obsessions include Toy Story (especially Charlie’s pull-string Woody toy, whose phrases they like to repeat), Wee Sing songs (we all enjoy singing and dancing to each one that comes on), giving each other hugs and kisses (this is the BEST), looking at board books, eating pizza and applesauce pouches, posing for pictures, and practicing their animal noises and body parts.
// HAPPENINGS AND HIGHLIGHTS //
Summer may just be starting, but we already have our big summer vacation behind us—and it was a good one! Two weeks ago we drove out to visit my parents in California. This was the second time we’ve made the 20-hour drive with the twins, and it started out great: on our first day we were on the road for 14 hours, making it from Austin to Tucson in just one day with very few pit stops and zero meltdowns. That night in the hotel was a tough one, though: we had thought the twins were both recovering from their colds, but Sully took a turn for the worse and was up the whole night coughing, which of course meant the rest of us were up all night as well. The second day on the road was a lot harder, with all of us eager to be at our destination.
We made it to the west coast in one piece and spent the next few days at my parents’ house in Huntington Beach. It was wonderful to spend time with them, and Charleston had a blast playing games, going to the beach and playground, and canoeing with his grandparents and Uncle Austin.
Kali was a doll the whole time we were at the house, eager to check out Oma and Opa’s toys and explore their house (last time we were there the twins weren’t walking yet). Poor Sully wasn’t doing well at all and Luke and I had to take him to Urgent Care, where he was diagnosed with ear infections in both ears and prescribed antibiotics. He started doing a little better after starting the meds but he still wasn’t himself for most of our trip.
While we were in California we were able to visit my 96-year-old grandmother in her assisted living facility. Because of COVID, this was her first time meeting the twins, and I was thrilled that we were able to make an outdoor visit with her happen. It was also reassuring for me to see her new home in person (she transitioned from a senior apartment to assisted living since our last visit); she is under phenomenal care in her new place, and it is wonderful to see her looking so healthy and happy, especially given the trying circumstances experienced by all senior citizens in the last year. She was having a great day and we all enjoyed the short time we had with her.
During our trip, we were also able to visit Luke’s grandmother, and I enjoyed looking at family pictures and hearing lots of new-to-me stories about Luke’s family while we were there. I got to see my in-laws’ wedding and prom pictures (precious!) and baby pictures of Luke’s mom, and I was amazed by how much Grace looked like Kali. At the end of the visit, Grandma gave each of the kids some cash which was a HUGE hit.
After four days in Huntington, we all headed up to the mountains for family camp at Forest Home. My family has been attending this very special camp since I was a teen, but this camping experience was different for several reasons: it was our first time at camp with the twins, it was our first time attending the camp in warmer weather (we usually go to family camp in November), and it was the first camp to take place at Forest Home in well over a year. Forest Home has made several huge changes to their facility over the past year and I was incredibly impressed with the new additions and renovations. This summer, the whole camp is being held outdoors (meals are on the dining hall patio, sessions are held in an amphitheater, etc.) and we all loved the extra outdoor time, especially since the weather was spectacular. (We lucked out: we were anticipating highs in the 50s, but we had 70s and sunny instead!)
Family Camp is always an awesome experience, and this year was no exception: we hiked and did the ropes course and mini golf; enjoyed meal times with my parents, brother, and his girlfriend (I use the word “enjoyed” loosely as the twins struggled during meals. . . ); visited the beautiful lake; and loved just being in God’s creation and with each other. After the crazy year we have all lived through, it was uniquely delightful to be around so many other members of God’s family—and actually be able to see their faces!
One of the best parts of camp is that there is childcare in the mornings (activities for the bigger kids, a nursery-type area for the littles) while parents get free time and attend a worship/teaching service. This year’s speaker was phenomenal, and each message was exactly what I needed to hear. It was great knowing my kids were well cared for while we were being spiritually fed. In the evenings, the camp sends sitters to the cabins who hang out with the kids, take them to evening activities, and get them into bed. Charleston was in love with both of our counselors, and the twins did surprisingly well with them too. It was awesome to come back to our cabin each night (after card games with my family) to find our children happily asleep.
We were one of the younger families at this camp, and getting around the mountain with the twins was challenging, but we still had an absolutely amazing time. The mountains are my favorite place to be, and I loved getting to be there with the people I love most.
That’s a wrap for May! We are home from our trip and don’t have many big plans for this coming month (or for the summer as a whole); whatever comes, I’m sure it will be an adventure as life in our home these days always is!