A visit to the Benedicts in early December and the regular trek to Perry's highlighted the month. For those who like to be punished, we generated the annual Braden Christmas Letter.
November was rest-from-traveling and recover-from jet lag month. We did travel to Tallahassee for a Thanksgiving dinner with the Wrights. And - of course - we had still not eaten the last of the turkey when Bonnie started humming Christmas carols.
October was traveling month. Bonnie and I spent almost a week in Costa Rica at a Tri-Association Conference (mostly Central America) of international school educators and more than a week in Manila with the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS). We logged lots of flying time, especially to and from the Philippines.
With all the kids gone, Bonnie and I occasionally get to prepare and eat a special breakfast together. One of Bonnie's favorites is Eggs Michelin. She puts the eggs in the pan and then gets distracted by something, so that she returns in panic to find the eggs completely rubberized. We did get to assemble the Clan at Perrys in Daytona Beach for the Labor Day weekend, so that was a great experience.
This is back-to-school month. Jay back to Stetson (of courses he was going there last month, too); Bonnie and Sandra back to teaching Wee Care; Robert back with students at CCF at Georgia Tech; Anne back to teaching Kindergarten; and Karen off to new studies. All of this probably made WalMart even weathier with back-to-school sales to get all the must-have supplies.
Anne finally completed all the things she wanted fixed or upgraded for her condo and moved in. We still see a lot of her, like when she wants to be fed, or like when she wants her laundry done. Robert gave up his Scan Corporation job when offered an Associate Pastor position back with Christian Campus Fellowship, so he gave up the big bucks for service and returned to Atlanta. Bonnie has taken to working out with Pilates - or that is what she says. She tells me Pilates has something to do with body sculpting but I think Pilates is a local Greek restaurant that serves great desserts. Karen applied for and was accepted into grad school at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, for work towards a Masters in Social Work. Spent the Independence Day weekend in Orlando at the Hyatt Grand Cypress. It was great.
Anne took a summer job with a day care organization and likes the money. Robert began employment with Scan Corporation. Karen got a raise in her job, which took a bit out of the sting of the long commute to work. Bonnie and Sandra took a break from teaching Wee Care.
Anne's condominium has become Jay and Bonnie's home improvement project - but maybe we should have seen that one coming: cleaning, painting, chair rail in the bedroom, new floor molding.... Anne finished another year at Yates Elementary; Robert finished at CCF Georgia Tech; Sandra and Bonnie finished their teaching at the church's Wee Care pre-school. The month culminated with a cruise to the Bahamas for those of the BradenClan who could make it; future months will be dedicated to paying for it.
A momentous month: Robert accepted a job with Scan Corporation, and Anne bought a condominium. Robert will get to experience that fine American tradition called W-O-R-K but get something in return called money. Anne will get to spend a lot of time on how to spend her $158.20 in discretionary spending after she pays her monthly bills.
We are told that Bonnie's Bible Study on Wednesdays tends to be a hoot because, well, let's say it this way, "The rest of the women tend to act their age." Karen has joined Jay in the Road Warrior club, spending hours each day commuting to and from work. Besides the joys of sitting in traffic, she gets to spend $400 a month on gas.
A new month, a new job: Karen has moved from Lakeland and her hospital job there to a similar job at a hospital in Naples. She plans to live in the Ft Myers area, which is just north of Naples. Anne is still loving her kindergarten class. Robert is getting ready for a March trip to England to see about setting up a youth ministry there. Bonnie and I had a nice visit to Boston as she accompanied me on a business trip.
Amazing, amazing. Bonnie gave up the comfort of eating bon-bons and laying on the couch watching soap operas (well, that's what I'm sure she does) to go back into the work force!!! She is now co-teaching the Wee-Care class with Sandra on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A giant source of income it ain't. By the time Bonnie buys gifts for the kids and extra materials for the class she'll manage to work us all into debt. So now it's M-W-F helping Anne and T-Th helping Sandra