Sunday Scenes – Throwback Edition

Sunday was a throwback to ‘old times’ – before sports and Boy Scout camping trips and teens with their own agendas took over. It used to be that Dennis and I packed a cooler and packed up the kids and drove to one or more locations with amorphous plans. We have not had a good, old-fashioned family picnic in a very long time. But we did yesterday.

We ended up in Allamuchy Mountain State Park, as Gavin had some Boy Scout business to attend to. Nearby, was the crazy-scenic Waterloo Village. I’d love to return when the historic happenings are in full swing.

It was a beautiful walk – with only one complainer.

There was also a request to fish. So we did in a nearby lake.

DSC06456 DSC06460 DSC06463 DSC06453 DSC06468These pictures make it look quaint. It wasn’t. There were tangled lines and catching weeds and children yelling ‘help’ every 3 seconds. Dennis wanted to know if I got nice pictures because we won’t be doing this again ;)

This issue of Sunday Scenes is the first of the ‘summery’ edition. Knowing there are many more to come make my heart happy, and my toes warm.

Finally.

Ethan and More Ethan

One of my goals is to be an interesting and consistent blogger.

Some of my other goals are to be an adequate mother, keep my house relatively sanitary, tame the laundry pile down to a dull roar, and experience time with my family in a variety of neat places, doing fun activities.

That gets in the way of my first goal. But don’t fear – I am honing my time management skills.

I’ll just tell you what Ethan has been up to and I am sure all will be forgiven. Right?

Special Olympics. It is really a wonderful event for the athletes that participate. It is preceded by weeks of practices. There is the anticipation of the parade and friends, the new t-shirt and, of course, the medals.

DSC05764 (1) DSC05797 DSC05818 (1) DSC05805 (2) DSC05857 (1) DSC05878 (1)Years ago, this was a difficult day for our whole family. It was often hard for Ethan to manage the waiting and the weather and for our little kids too. But as they have all gotten older, the experience has gotten nicer and I look forward to many more years of participation.

“Let me win, and if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt”. ~Special Olympics Motto

Ethan also attended The Midland School Prom. All proms are wonderful. But this one is the best. The kids are all so ‘on’ and pulled together – really nailing it in every way. I feel privileged that I get to be a part of these peoples lives.

Who doesn’t love when I post about Ethan and more Ethan?!

Don’t Try This At Home

Do not, under any circumstances, mix homeschooling some of your children and sending some of your children to educational institutions.

You will not be able to avail yourself of the somewhat lovely and bohemian lifestyle allowed by homeschooling – like not having to get up at a truly undesirable hour of the day. Rise, prepare breakfasts, pack lunches, and oversee the washing the dressing of two of your charges. Make sure they possess the litany of items needed for a day away from home and the masses of papers that are shuttled back and forth. Books, tissues…did we pack lunches?

You’ll need to assure that one kid get on the bus on time and that you transport one kid yourself…to the school….on time. Oh yeah, that reminds me. Do not pick the same schools for the two children attending school. I mean, that would just be easy and boring. It is even less boring for you if one attends a private school with a certain culture, rules and ways of doing things and the other a public school that does things totally differently. Then, keep them straight from one another.

Now, for the two children who are benefiting from home education – do not have them close in age. Make sure they are years apart so that you cannot arrange for any activities for them that overlap. Do not have them share learning styles. Again – booooorrrrring. You don’t want boring – you want challenging :)

This will also allow for some other situations that will really keep you bringing your “A Game”. When you have your ‘homeschooling’ clan out and about, make sure you can be home in time for school pick up and the bus drop off. Also, be sure that after a nice long day of homeschooling, you are able to help the child, whose school does not have the ‘no homework’ policy that the other kid’s school has, with homework.

This all works best when you have four boys, who share no virtually no interests, have radically different needs, and all have ‘things’ that make each of them incredibly challenging in their own right, but a force to be reckoned with as a pack.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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The bookends

 

Handsful

I said it right there at the kitchen counter. I just said it.

“Really Dennis! Who thought having four children was a good idea?”

Oh! Ma! God! Did I really say that?!

Just like the very young ultrasound technician who gave me the most horrified look and judgmental stares when I cried because I found out Sean was not, in fact, a girl. Get over it.

Sometimes I think unhappy thoughts. Sometimes I think downright dark thoughts. Sometimes I just wonder out loud why I had four kids. Is it really so wrong?

Today was one of those days when I had washed and dried 7 loads of laundry and there was barely a noticeable difference in the laundry room. Still so many piles.

I have a list of phone calls to make regarding medical issues and school stuff, camp decisions and working papers, appointments and bills and all manner of issues regarding….the kids. The list, printed on the cute, organizer paper labeled ‘To Call’, is a joke. Maybe a list of who I DON’T have to call would be shorter.

There is a pile of papers on my desk, leaning to one side that contains items like info on Mikey’s school trip, Gavin’s application to the vocational high school, Ethan’s prom and Special Olympics papers, library schedules and information about programs and classes. It is teetering. Like my sanity.

Can I watch a show? Where is the antibacterial cream? Have you seen an Indian Jones hat for my Lego minifigure? Is there something else, besides THIS for lunch? Unending questions. X4

It gets rough. Really rough. Sometimes it helps me to say appalling things out loud. I feel like if I say it, then I’m just not thinking it, and I can make it seem less like an elephant in the room – or in my brain. So there. I said it. I said out loud that sometimes I find it completely overwhelming that we have 4 kids.

I know enough now to know that the tide will turn. I will not get stuck with this thought. I already know, that some days (or weeks or months) get long and tiring. I know that sometimes it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is a train and I know that sometimes, it actually is the sun.

4 sons.

I have my hands full. Really, really full.

Thank God.

Clean

Clean. Cull. Swipe. Wipe. Scrub. Dust. Sweep. Buff. Polish. Shine. Purge. Disinfect. Arrange. Shine. Tidy. Mop. Scour. Stack. Pile. Collect. Organize. Brush. Cleanse. Sanitize. Fold. Fluff.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Yeah, that.

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Sunday Scenes – iphone Edition

If the day starts out with me, myself, my sneakers and I – it’s got to be good, good, good.

party1Sean, who resides in a ‘big boy’ world, very rarely gets to participate in ‘little boy’ activities. So a Lego-themed, family party for a younger cousin was really nice for him. A minifig cookie made the day truly ‘sweet’.

party2

You know how I hang out at the hockey rink to watch my boys play? This is the usual view. I watch. Through a fence. Just like that.

I forgot to tote my camera with me, so my iphone had to suffice.

Do what you can, with what you’ve got. All of the time.

So, So Sick

Ethan is sick. Poor guy. It sounds so simple, but it’s not. The final diagnosis is pneumonia – just like Gavin and I.

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We have a pull out couch in our kitchen – thank goodness. It has served us well during the last few weeks.

We’ve come to call Ethan ‘the ox’, because he misses so many illnesses that come through our house. It is really shocking given the circumstances that we faced the first seven years of his life.

As an infant and young child, Ethan was often critically ill with breathing troubles brought on by both reflux and a cruddy immune system. Sure, he had the ‘normal’ kid stuff – but he got things twice as bad, they lasted twice as long and he got them five times more often than other kids. He had scarlet fever – several times. I cannot count the amount of times he had Coxsackie, Fifth’s Disease, Roseola or Rotovirus.

Oh God. Rotovirus. May you NEVER.

It is hard to remember. It is hard to go back. They were very lonely days for sure. I marvel that Dennis and I so quickly developed a skill set that allowed us to do it on a near-constant basis. We planned our first ever family vacation when he was almost 7. In NJ. We lasted 4 days…before he got sick.

His current illness reminds me of that time. It also reminds me of how blessed we are that him being this sick has been few and far between in recent years. We are so fortunate that he got stronger and healthier. We know kids who did not.

He has come so far it’s remarkable.

I never forget that Ethan is loud, demanding, funny, obsessive, opinionated, silly, and requires ‘line-of-sight’ supervision.

I do often forget that he is really remarkable. Truly.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
— Albert Einstein