This has been the craziest summer we have had in a long time, which is why you haven’t heard from me for a couple months. We don’t usually vacation in the summer, but we get involved in one or two extra activities per a kid. If you take this times six kids, it makes for one busy household.
The insanity started on June 3 with me going to Bureau Valley High School every morning from 7 to 9 a.m. for drivers’ education. This required me to wake up in the morning at 5 a.m., so I could be out the door by 6:30 a.m. On many days, I had to go straight from drivers’ ed to work at the cafe. I know this sounds like no big deal, but it made for very long days. This was my first experience with formal school. I am used to doing work for homeschool, but the homework and tests we got daily were new to me. I found it funny that when I had a question on my homework and asked another adult for their input, they usually got the questions wrong. Shortly after the class started and we took a test, we received our permits. I love driving, and even more, I love that my siblings never get to sit in the front seat anymore.
My oldest brother Justus spent the month of June at Soldiers and Sailors Park practicing for his part in Festival 56’s “MacBeth.” He had to go nearly every day and has been having a blast. He has met many new people coming from all over the country. But he has yet to be asked for his autograph (hint hint). Opening night was June 30, and the show is fantastic. It has lots of sword fighting, action and awesome costumes. I know he would love it if you went to see him. The show is every Sunday and Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. throughout July. By the way, he is killed on stage, which is probably every 13-year-old boy’s dream.
My middle brother, Milo, 11, doesn’t really get talked about much in our family. This past month he achieved a big accomplishment by earning his purple belt in karate. For those of you that are wondering, this is the order of belts; White, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown and black. Milo has been in karate for three years. Every day he does push-ups, sit-ups and different routines he needs to learn. They are called Katas. These involve lots of complicated movements with his arms and legs. I don’t know how he remembers it all. Great job, Milo!
The highlight of my little brother’s and sister’s (Simeon and Faustina) summer has been daily art camp with Kathy Ballard and Jill Marti. It is held at the Prairie Arts Center, and they go for an hour each day to paint, draw, work with clay and have snacks. They did this last year and begged all year to go back. Those of you who know about my brother Simeon will love this story. He built a tank — I think it was a Panzer — out of clay, and it blew up in the kiln. He was a little sad, but we convinced him it was cool. (Milo also goes and loves it, but he already has a paragraph in my column to himself.)
My baby sister, Patsy, isn’t enrolled in any extra activities but has been busy riding in the car while my mom drives us everywhere. She has also had fun catching lightning bugs, playing corn monster, swimming and eating popsicles until they drip all over her hands and feet. She loves to be outside and takes her job of letting out and putting away the kitties daily very seriously. She also loves collecting the eggs, and we finally got her to stop poking her finger into each egg to see how hard she could push on the shell before it cracks.
I hope you are all having a wonderful summer and are enjoying this beautiful weather. Summer can be a busy time, but remember to stop and enjoy the little things that make it special.
Amelia Bystry, 15, resides in rural Princeton. You can contact Amelia firstname.lastname@example.org.