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My last chemo treatment was June 1st and within a week after that last treatment we were able to schedule surgery for July 6th. Once we had a solid date, Andy and I decided to see how much summer we could cram into the five weeks between the two dates. And looking back, we’ve done way more than I ever dreamed possible for this summer . . . .

It all started with each of the boys spending a week at a camp of their choice. The oldest three boys went to basketball camp at a local high school. Wyatt on the other hand, chose to go to Bible Day Camp at the church he attending preschool at. It took me a couple of days to get used to having the house completely to myself every morning but once I figured out how to navigate the quiet I spent that time doing some shopping that I needed to do for surgery and getting coffee with a friend.

The next week was a perfect week for camping outside as a family. We roasted marshmallows one night and slept in the tent for three. One night one of Andy’s sisters and our nephew was able to join us.

The boys and I also hung out with some of Andy’s family at a local food truck rally.

Week 3 brought CentriKid camp for myself and the oldest three boys and Daddy camp for Wyatt. I was shocked and thrilled to find out right after my last chemo treatment that I was going to be able to chaperone CentriKid church camp. It has been one of my favorite things every summer now for several years and I didn’t think there would be any way for me to be able to go this year. Shockingly, a chaperone spot opened up just as I was learning that I had no medical reason not to go. From OMC to church times to braiding beads into the hair of the girls I was chaperoning to grabbing lunch with a dear ministry friend, it was one crazy week but God sustained my energy and health through the whole thing. In fact, for the first time ever, I didn’t need a nap as soon as I got home. Andy may have been more tired than I was when I got home but then again I can only guess from pictures what all he and Wyatt got themselves into during the week.

Less than 72 hours after returning from camp, we headed out on family vacation to Indiana. We started just outside of Indianapolis at a museum called Conner’s Prairie. Andy’s parents were able to join us and it was a sweet time of exploring the historic villages, playing at the splash pad at the part behind our rental house and visiting.

And of course there was ice cream! Andy and August ordered four flavor “tasters” and the rest of us committed to single flavors. Everything was incredible! For anyone who doesn’t know Andy well, ice cream is one of his favorite things and we regularly search out famous ice cream places on vacation. Handel’s on the top of the list in the US and we were excited to find one so close to our rental.

From Indianapolis, the six of us headed on up to Michigan City where we could explore the sand dunes of Indiana and spend some time on the beach. I had no idea how hard it would be to climb the sand dunes. Wesley dubbed them “the world’s largest natural treadmill.” August on the other hand could just climb them without any effort and spent a ton of time running up them waiting for the rest of us.

When we weren’t climbing the dunes we were playing on the beach. As usual, the boys loved digging pits and making sand sculptures. We also enjoyed some frisbee / football throwing and an epic kids versus adults water gun fight.

Most of the days of vacation, I cooked our meals because I love to do that but the one day we decided it would be easier to eat out and found an incredible authentic Jamaican restaurant. The boys were willing to try plantains, Jamaican patties and curried goat. We also ate some jerk but that is a pretty normal food around our house.

Would it be a family vacation without trains? Well maybe for most families but not usually for ours. This vacation was extra special in this department as our second rental house was near a train track and the boys got to see 17 trains run past the house. Andy and I also had decided to take them to the Hesston Steam Museum as we worked our way back home. This museum is known for it’s steam trains that you can still ride on. As we were driving to the museum, we found I Love Trains, which is one of the more famous train stores in the US, and so of course, we stopped. Our train loving boys were over the moon by the end of the day.

So how much summer can you cram into five weeks? I’d say a whole lot. We are grateful to have been able to do things together and enjoy summer in between the few appointments I’ve had during this treatment “break.”

We are now in surgery week and though surgery is always a scary thing, I am trusting God to help us through this next part just as He has the parts that are now behind us.

Please join us in prayer for surgery (Thursday, July 6th at 7:30AM) and for the recovery that will follow. I’m not always one that is good about sitting still and not picking things up but I’m going to have to be good about it for the next few weeks at the least. We’re thankful that our church family is going to feed us and that our parents and siblings are also planning to be around to help with the boys and anything else we could possibly need. Thank you for being part of our team as well. Each of you are a gift from God to us.