Saturday, July 24, 2010


Our family trip to Mystic, Connecticut was wonderful! The kids were really good in the car, although less well behaved elsewhere. My grandparents were finally able to meet my kiddos, and Gabriel in particular really resembles my grandfather. It was nice to have everyone together in person. My aunt and uncle made time in their busy schedules to come by and see us for an afternoon, and it was great visitng with them as well.

I also got to get to know my sister in person for the very first time ever! We had a very brief meeting years ago, but without the circumstances to really connect. We've chatted on the phone and exchanged emails, so it was a thrill to really get to spend time with her. I was able to meet her fiance, and he really took to the kiddos. Chased them around and around the yard and let them tackle him a time or two. And as a very special bonus, I was able to meet my brother for the first time as well! It was unexpected, and so very wonderful. His wife was there too, and our kids took to her immediately. They all are such beautiful people, and I cannot express how blessed I feel to finally have them in my life. I really treasure the family connection, so to have my family grow by four, all at once, feels incredible. I am a lucky girl, indeed!

This trip really was about family, so we kept our schedule light- we didn't want to pack in a bunch of activities and wear everyone out. So that's what we did. We met my grandparents at The Nautilus- the world's first nuclear-powered submarine. It is docked in New London and open for tours. The cool thing about this for me is that my grandfather was stationed on it for two years when I was very young. How fun was it to get a personal tour of the very sub he was on! The kids were excited to go on a submarine, but once there were more fascinated by the jellyfish they spotted in the water- go figure.

On Monday, Batman had some work he absolutely had to be online for. So he stayed at the hotel, and I took three children out to explore the quaint little town of Mystic. We spent the morning enthralled by the little drawbridge that opens at forty past the hour to let the boats through. We watched a seagull swoop down and snatch bread from the water without stopping, which delighted the little guys. Where did we stop for lunch? Mystic Pizza, of course! And it really is a slice of heaven! Tons of memorabilia decorates the walls, and the movie plays nonstop in each room of the restaurant. And it really is delicious.
We browsed in some of the stores and stopped for ice cream in the afternoon. Gabriel was covered in chocolate ice cream (doesn't it figure that the messiest child wants chocolate?), and was enjoying it so much he ran into his brother's cone! So there's a nice glob of strawberry ice cream right near his eye, which I guess complimented the dark brown that covered the rest of his face. My feeble attempts to keep the kids somewhat tidy with small, papery napkins were in vain. So I just let them have at it, then headed for the public bathroom to wash up. Sometimes as a parent, you just have to let it go. Those times often make the best memories.

Before we even left, my darling husband was already online checking out airfare, to see when I could go back to visit my family. Perhaps in the fall, and this time without the little guys. I just love that he really saw how much it meant for me to spend time with everyone.

As much as I enjoyed my visit, it felt really good to get back home. We're sort of back into our routine. We just got the list of school supplies for each grade in the mail, along with classroom assignments. There are all kinds of back to school and kindergarten orientation events. I cannot believe it is that time already. So we will really make the most of these last weeks of summer break. Lots to do and not do, while we still can. Tomorrow Batman will grill for dinner, and I think it might just be a good night to let the kids stay up late and catch fireflies.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer so far

Here it is, the middle of July, and we are truly enjoying the lazier days of summer. The kiddos sleep as late as they want (although usually that means only an extra half hour or so), we're not as rushed in the mornings or after dinner, and I usually only have one lunch to pack in the morning- my hubby's.

We've gone swimming a few times, enjoyed the splashpark, and played in the sprinkler plenty. The boys and I occasionally cuddle up on the couch together and treat ourselves to an afternoon movie. And today, during a rare summer rainstorm, we baked a perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies together.

Earlier in the spring, we started a container garden of sorts. I have basil, lavender, and lemon balm on the deck. Each child chose a veggie to grow and care for- Gabriel planted a tomato plant, Julian wanted to grow green peppers, and Maddie chose a different kind of green pepper along with the cabbage she started at school. Our little garden is doing well; we've enjoyed a tomato, picked by a very proud Gabriel, and one of Julian's big green peppers- dipped in Marzetti's creamy ranch- yum! And I think when Maddie comes over tomorrow, she'll be ready to pick her first pepper. It's been very rewarding to see the kids take care of their own plants, eagerly checking for produce progress. They water, check every leaf for holes, pet, and talk to their plants. They are much more likely to taste and actually eat what they have grown themselves. They surprised me by devouring the mini-cabobs I made them using Gabriel's tomato, fresh mozzarella, and a tiny basil leaf, all speared on a toothpick. You can bet next year our garden will be much, much bigger.

My work hours have been reduced, partly by my request, since most of my pay goes to childcare expenses during the summer. I am thrilled to be getting so much done around here. So much seems to be put on the back burner when I am working more, helping with homework, packing five lunches in the morning, and just keeping up with all the mayhem in general. And since this is our last summer before all my kids are in school (sniff!), I am trying to enjoy as much time with my little guys as possible. The other day, Julian slightly overlapped two hulahoops behind his back and exclaimed, "Look, Mom! I have a Venn diagram on my butt!" Gabriel is endlessly entertaining (and sometimes frustrating)- he corrected Maddie when she said "care-a-mel" (we grew up pronouncing it "car-mel"). Julian jumped in and explained that Caramel was the Jewish way of saying Carmel. I guess that's funny for those of you who know that Batman and Maddie are Jewish, and we are not. We got a good laugh out of that one.

And last night, we saw Gabriel get up to go to the bathroom, which is a pretty common occurrence with him. Instead of going to the kids' bathroom, he went into ours. I thought I better go check on him. When I got upstairs, I could hear him peeing, but couldn't find him. It wasn't till I went around the corner in our bathroom that I found him. He had just peed in the bathtub. He was clearly sleepwalking. I walked him back to his room, tucked him into bed, then went to clean up the tub.

We're getting ready to take a family trip to Connecticut. My grandparents and aunts and uncles live there, and have never met my children. I am looking very forward to seeing them and having them meet my wonderful new hubby and all my kids. Our plan is to take the kids swimming for the afternoon to get them completely worn out, feed them a good dinner, get them in their jammies, and leave around their bedtime. Batman will drive overnight, and hopefully the kids will sleep for most of the trip. We can hope. The swimming strategy should work well, since the last time I took them, the two hours we were in the pool completely wiped out Gabriel. He was so exhausted he could barely eat his dinner. I have never seen such a bouncy child eat in slow motion before!

Lots to do before the trip. I have been really dragging due to some kind of cold virus or something. It's hard to be a mommy, helping everyone else when you feel lousy. But everything is getting done, and soon we'll be on our way. I'm sure there will be lots to write about when we get back.

This entry feels very disconnected and all over the place, but I would say that's pretty fitting for our life right now.