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

A Drive-In Movie Theater

Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theater is America’s oldest drive-in and I could not wait to go.

DSC01668Recently, the weather was just right and they were showing two movies that our clan wanted to see. You always get a double feature at this drive-in – if you kids can stay awake for the second, 11 p.m. showing!

The movie does not start until dark (estimated around 9 p.m.) but to get a spot, we arrived around 7. People spent their time before the movie playing lawn games, board games on top of coolers or just relaxing – on their patio furniture they brought from home in the back of their pick-up trucks. People had all types of cool set-ups to keep themselves comfy for the many hours they would spend here.

We followed suit by setting up camp and enjoying a picnic dinner. We also played games, took a few walks and took in all the sights and sounds. The time passed quickly.

DSC01656 (1) DSC01661 DSC01663 DSC01670 DSC01691It was a wonderful evening under the stars and basking in the glow of the high-quality digital movie. It was breezy and required sweatshirts making it a cozy night and a happy summer memory for The Boyz.

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.’
~Wallace Stevens

Ethan’s Birthday Post

My most popular blog posts are always about Ethan.

DSC00705 (1)Maybe it’s because his gigantic personality is crammed into his 4’11 & 3/4″ frame. Maybe it’s because Ethan goes big or goes home – in all the best and worst possible ways. Maybe it is because his brain works so unbelievably different than the rest of us and he gives us a tiny view into a different dimension – sometimes I think it could really be that.

DSC00739He is our resident ‘psuedo-hoarder’ (only because I won’t let him go any further) and the most frustrating DJ (he usually only plays 2/3 of a song) there is.

Ethan turns 19 today.

He is remarkable and I am honored to be his mother. I am glad that his story is being written right here next to me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.