Gavin Talks

Gavin has been away for the better part of two weeks. He is really helpful around the house, picks up some slack for me now and then, can babysit Sean for me occasionally and other valuable tasks.

So why, while he’s away, is mind my experiencing a little vacation of its own?

Because Gavin talks. A lot. Like a lot.

He wants to talk, in depth, about the books he is reading, the ones we are reading together and the books he might read in the future. He does not have ‘summarize’ mastered yet or doesn’t prefer to convey the stories in that was. I get ‘the whole story’.

He wants to discuss current events and wants to discuss the history of the Gaza Strip, what happened during the cuban missile crisis and how HIV causes AIDS. He wants me to know how many men died during The Battle of Antietum and how it tied into the Civil War. He asks me what pasteurization and homogenization are and are they ‘good’ or ‘bad’. He wants to discuss what “Kosher” means. He asks me how grass seeds are spread and then wants to know if I want to watch a documentary called “Hitler’s Children” with him.

He asks if we can go to the arcade today, the beach tonight, and when can I find him another class where he can dissect something. He wants to know if I know of anywhere he can see cows butchered. He recounts facts, tons and tons of facts. Some vital and interesting and some – not so much. He asks me to guess how many calories are in a cup of Cheerios.

I call him factoid boy.

Most conversations include him letting you know the strongest, longest, oldest, and fastest…..whatever. If Gavin starts a conversation with you by saying, ‘I’ve been wondering…’ or ‘I was just thinking…’ – brace yourself. It’s going to be long.

“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”

― Catherine M. Wallace

I know, I know. I am trying my best. Besides, I learn a lot from Gavin.

Thank you to Mariya Kovalyov at Happy Family Art for this photo!

I am a terrible wife…

I do not have any Sunday Scenes – the scene here was incredibly boring. Instead I’ll tell you this…

Dennis asked if I knew that some wives miss their husbands when they go away. Interesting, I thought. Besides, he is only going to be gone for a week. Do you ‘miss’ your significant other when they are gone? Isn’t it true that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’? I am not totally sure what makes him being gone so appealing to me, because I really like Dennis :)

I do look forward to taking up the whole bed and sleeping diagonally. I am NOT a cuddler and a relish sleeping alone. Is that weird?

I like being free of all expectations of another human being, mainly the expectation of dinner. God, I hate dinner. I wish it would just fall into a giant sinkhole. While Dennis is gone, I’ll eat pizza with Ethan or Cheerios with Sean. I don’t care. I’ll have a smoothie or a fried egg. I REALLY don’t care. It will be nice.

When I am here alone, there is no need to compromise in any situation or communicate my intentions or involve anyone else in what I am doing whatsoever. My way or the highway. Do you feel sorry for Dennis yet?

Sure, Ethan will act up for me, and Sean will be a little weepy. There will be no one to pick up the slack when I fumble the ball, as I often do. Dennis won’t be here to bail me out of some project or mess I’ve gotten myself into or carry really heavy items or provide an extra set of keys should I lock myself in or out of something.

I guess I should be glad that it’s only a week.


Sunday Scenes – The Airport Edition

First, I’ll show you the pictures I took at Newark Airport as Gavin and his cousin prepared for their first ‘parent-less’ flight.

140 153 154 165157Second, I’ll tell you that through a series of actions by several United Airlines employees that were unprofessional, disorganized, and misinformed, our kids missed their crack-of-dawn flight.  It was really unfortunate and super inconvenient.  Super.

It was a really looooong day that ended in the late afternoon with happy teens boarding a plane bound for sunny Florida.

As my sister recounted our woes on Facebook, a friend of her’s simply stated:

‘God’s purposes, no?’

Yes. I can embrace that. A reason for everything.

Double Trouble – State Park

This was not my find. I had heard of the park, but did not know about the cool, tea-colored cedar water that is reputed to have therapeutic qualities. When my friend suggested a day there, I had 8 reasons why I couldn’t go. I am glad I ignored my inner neurotic and just packed my bags and went.

106a107aThe park itself is very interesting with a rich portion of NJ history including cranberry farming and cedar milling (hence the cedar water). We had a chance to watch a brief video all about it.

This locale is typically quiet and cool and just the right spot to recharge your batteries.

I think this place could be a little bit magical. Thanks, friend.

Sunday Scenes – The Family Beach Day Edition

Every one of these pictures was taken on the beach – and that makes me SO happy! Going to the beach with all six of us and my mom is a HUGE undertaking – but it was so worth it :)

Field Trip Hero

About 60 times over two days, Ethan asked to visit Northlandzagain.  I obliged by packing up all The Boyz and heading there. We were greeted by the creator and builder, Mr. Zaccagnino, and it’s always nice to see him. We paid our admission and were well  immersed in miniature train world – like a magical alternate universe – when Ethan started giving me a hard time about eating lunch. I figured we’d do much better if we took a little break and had a couple of slices of pizza before resuming our travels – and there is a sweet, little snack bar. But it didn’t work that way.

Ethan proclaimed he was done. When Ethan says he’s done, it is a lot like the universe saying ‘….and so it is written’. There are very few times when he can be redirected. Nearly never. I asked if they had happened to have a wheelchair on the premises, and Mr. Zaccignino quickly retrieved one for me. Occasionally, Ethan is genuinely fatigued from walking.

I cheerfully offered him a ride.


I cajoled, encouraged and bribed.


I Facetimed Dennis.


His tantrum was epic. Loud, physical and drama-filled. I feel very bad for him when he is in this state – I believe that he is ‘stuck’ and that it is completely beyond his control. I know brain chemicals are involved and this is a direct result of the nature of his disabilities. It was hard on him and the rest of us.

I am past being embarrassed. My dilemma was that I had 3 other boys who were genuinely enjoying the tour and I was sure to be faced with resistance from them as well and a tantrum from my semi-feral 5 year-old. Ah, between a rock and a hard place. I was trapped.

I have been in MANY difficult situations with Ethan and on VERY FEW occasions has anyone offered to help me. If someone had asked me in that moment what they could do to help, I would not have known how to answer anyway. Just then, I felt a hand on my hand. It was Mr. Zaccagnino. He gently patted my hand in the way that only men of his generation can. He didn’t ask me what he could do. He presented his plan.

“Here are two passes so that you can bring him back”, he said, handing me courtesy tickets. He also let me know that he would escort Gavin, Mikey & Sean back to the 50% mark, exactly where we left off, so that they could walk through the rest of the tour. He assured me that Gavin was old enough to escort his brothers through. Ethan sat in the car and cried for some time. It is always sad for me to see him in this state. For a moment, I thought that I might cry too, but decided against it.

The boys finished their tour and happily exited.

Mr. Zaccagnino is not only and interesting and talented artist who has chosen to share his exquisite hobby with the world, but a compassionate and wise man who bailed us out of a precarious situation this week.

Crisis managed. Disaster averted. Thank you to our field trip hero.

Now go visit Northlandz – just don’t invite us to come along ;)

Sunday Scenes – The Backyard Edition

We made a deliberate decision to stay in our own backyard all day on Sunday. It was a very good decision.

‘Summer has filled her veins with light
and her heart is washed with noon.’

~ C. Day Lewis