Monday, June 15, 2015

All Of The Fun Things...

"If summer would last forever, and the kids wouldn't get any older than they are now, and life would always be like this, I would be ok with that." - Tim, said today.

I might be chill with that except for...not quite everything.  Because...tantrums, people.  Not really willing and eager to stay in a four year old's tantrum stage FOR THE REST OF MY LIIIIFFFEEE.

(Actually, we've made GREAT progress on the tantrum front lately, MUCH to my relief.  I'm trying to make sure Layla eats something at least every four hours, and goes potty every two, and it has made a MASSIVE difference.  I actually think most of her tantrums come from having to pee, not realizing it, feeling uncomfortable and slightly miserable, and then going into sensory overload.  Of which there is no coming out of until the bitter stormcloud blows over.  She went from several long tantrums every day to two total this past week.  The first was before I started my plan, and the second was after a looong week that included evening vacation bible school, and I totally expected it.  Fatigue is her other trigger.)

But the summer has descended and it is indeed, glorious.  We had a crazy busy week straight out of the kids finishing school.  The kids' last day of school was Friday, June 5.  I had volunteered to help with the fourth grade end-of-the-year party, which was on Thursday morning, and was a deeelicious breakfast prepared for the class by Mrs. Tennefoss, their teacher.  Our role as volunteers was to make faces on the pancakes with bacon, whipped cream, and berries.  :)

Gabe's class. Notice the balance balls a lot of them have to sit on.  Genius.  Genius, I say. 

We really really really loved Mrs. Tennefoss!! She was so great for Gabe.  

The next day was the awards ceremony.  

And then my camera died... :)

The next day after the last day of school was the Spring Festival that the school holds as a fundraiser.  The boys usually spend a lot of time on the waterslide, and they did that too this year, especially Israel,

but after a while Gabe came in search of Caroline, because he wanted to take her to see the petting zoo.  He was so good with her and so patient and took her several times during the day.  

The chicks.

The geese.

The kitties.

 Isn't Caroline's dress just adorable?  Layla had on a pretty one too that her mother thought was probably more suited for a proper dressy event, but hey, why squander the opportunity to wear a pretty dress, thinks Layla.  So her mother agrees, and we fluffed our way all around town in a right fancy manner.

Layla waited with a dwindling amount of patience as her mother perused the sale items, and finally made her way to what her heart was longing for...the bouncy house.

After this she joined up with Zion to ride the cars. (They are in the first two cars, and Layla has her newly-purchased-from-the-aforementioned-mother-perusing, new-to-her Hello Kitty hat and gloves on.)

The hat and gloves, later in the day, just for your viewing enjoyment.  :)

Actually this year was kind of easier than other years, because Israel was on the waterslide, and Gabe kept carting Caroline off, and Zion and Layla were running around together, and I didn't have to be quite as "on".

This was the beginning of the end, though.

Layla wanted her hand painted.

And it was a nice kitty...but something was just not as it should be with the kitty legs...and lunch had been too long in coming...and the hot dog got too was all over, folks,

The next day was Sunday, and the boys and their dad left to go camping at Cape Henlopen.  I thought maybe that I might not be able to get everything done that I couldn't help but plan on when I thought of the days with just us girlies, but I was able to churn out a lot of productivity, much to my delight!!  Four less people is a lot less people when it comes down to it, and the four days and three nights were enjoyable and relaxing.  Although we all missed each other.  Layla missed having people in the room with her at night to sleep, and needed to sleep with her mama.  

On the table beside her you can see her flashlight, the teapot and teacup she needed to have her water in, and the smoothie that her mother thought all girls needed to go get that night right before bed. ;)

We traveled out on Wednesday to help them get everything home.  There were a lot of gleeful boys in the tree quite eager to demonstrate their tree climbing skills.  

The appreciative audience.  

After a quick hike up one of the outlooks and a super quick beach go-see, we stopped for icecream and then came home, since the kids started VBS that night, that ended in a fun VBS festival that Saturday.  See??  Is this a crazy week or what??

Israel with one of his best friends, Jeremiah.

And meanwhile Tim got our pool set up in the backyard.  

And we got the garden re-tilled and tomato cages on.  

Now tomorrow is Monday again, and it feels like the proper start of summer break.  It doesn't feel quite real that I don't have to get up and get the boys around for school.  I CAN'T WAIT to not have to get up.  :)     

(in case you're interested, the baby seems to have missed that particular memo...)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Going to Bed Flurry

Ahhh, the Going To Bed Flurry.

Comprised of approximately 14,785 steps between five children consisting of Oldest Son hurriedly eating about six bowls of cold supper, everyone searching for a snack, locating exactly. the correct sleepwear for those of us inclined toward lengthy and decibel-blasting mental and emotional breakdowns over such things as the wrong sleepwear, slow meandering strolls to get teeth brushed, finding the perfect book or book combinations, reminders to go potty, finding flashlights/fans/whateverrrrrrrsss (can you tell the mother is starting to wear out here), fixing blankets just so for those of us inclined toward lengthy and decibel-blasting mental and emotional breakdowns over such things as misaligned blankets, taking old cups of water away, assisting with new fresh clean sparkling cups in a just so manner that does not cross invisible boundaries in the mine field of tantrum land, answering 4,315 questions between four children, many of which go along the lines of "Mom?!!!?  MOM!!??  MOM!!!!!  Ummmmmmm........I.....Mom.  Mom.", saying prayers over those that request them, also with the right combination of words - "Did you pray for a good night of sleep and for good dreams??  I didn't hear you pray for good dreams.", and giving and receiving sweet smooches and tight hugs that aim the occasional child chin into the mother eye.  

Then coming out to deal with the cheery chirp who is in the in-between stage of needing a nap/needing to drop a nap in order to go to bed at a decent and parental-sanity-conservationing time.
'Cause for real, ya'll, the edges of the ol' sanity feel a little frayed sometimes.  In the nighttime.  When all good children should be fast asleep and yours is still wandering out to catch a hopeful glimpse of the television.

Right now, the kids are all restricted to two trips out and two "MOOOOMMM!!!!'s"....or else.  One doesn't want to see what lies beyond that ragged, twitching line of a mother's goodwill.  I get very cranky and barky and yell-y as that line is broached.  Particularly if I happen to be doing the evening solo.

Soon they will all be lying snug in their beds, cozy and asleep, and the house will be quietly humming with white noise, and the Evening Peace and Relaxation will descend, and I shalt call it bless-ed. :)

(Life is bless-ed too when all five kids are awake, but we'll just all recognize that a break is nice in any setting you may choose.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Today was super bright and had an element of "scorch" to it...but as the afternoon has waned, big billowy grey clouds have blown in and the temperature has dropped to a comfortable place, and the air outside is soft and humid. The temperature inside is cool, and the light inside my house is dim, but somehow soothing.  I am walking around feeling very content and happy, admiring my blue and white Indian print tablecloth that I love so much and eating circus peanuts and making hamburger gravy for supper.  I have felt very unexcited about making supper for the past few weeks.  Yick.  I keep trying to think of quick and easy recipes and this sounds like one.  Plus it sounds delicious. Belly growl.

Israel stayed home sick from school with a constant cough and an overall feeling of malaise; he's been drooped heavily over various items of furniture, occasionally declaring his feeling of unwellness and looking around with puffy eyes.  He has had several breathing treatments, cough medicine, throat spray, two cans of chicken broth and plenty of popsicles to soothe his throat.  Which actually isn't sore but just irritated.

Gabe is camped out in a chair reading, since he came home from school.  Which is what Gabe does.

Tim is outside in the yard setting up the pool that the kids splash around in over the summer.  It seems to have a nice big leak in the floaty top part, but we're going to try a prescription of duct tape and see how that works out.  He has several gleeful helpers out there.  Zion has been happily sticking his head in a bucket of water and rearing back, with water flying.

It's good to get back to summer, he thinks.  He's been asking about summer for a good while now.

Tim had ordered a new pool filter and it came in TWO delightful boxes that are being put to heavy use.  When Caroline saw Layla claiming the first box when it first came, SHE needed a box too, Dad!!

Here were these two the other day being basically irresistibly adorable with their dad's socks.

That picture of Layla dancing is one of my favorites ever. :)

We scooted home to Virginia for a brief trip this past Saturday, since my dad was turning 60 years old on May 31!  Before we got there to give him a proper surprise, we stopped in at a book thingie for children at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds.  The kids each got to pick out several free books, and they had other tables and activities going on.  Zion wanted to do the heart hopscotch.

And we had to check out the hot air balloon outside!! They blew it up partially and let kids walk around inside with their shoes off.  COOLEST EVER!!!

Dad was properly surprised :), and wanted a picture with some of his little surprisers for his 60th birthday, and his snap-happy daughter was more than pleased to comply!

The kids managed to squeeze in a whole lot of fun times in one afternoon.  Frisbee throwing.

Swing riding.

BB gunning. (I think they are actually searching for BB's here.)

The targets.

Maddie helped by laying around like the tired doggy she was, shaded under her own personal Japanese maple. :)

Caroline had to walk around being all cute.  Again.

She had her little arm hooked just so to carry her little pink bunny in her little purse.  That little arm needs some kisses, I can see just by looking at it right now...

Preparing for supper.

We ate a DELICIOUS supper on the porch.  Oh. My. Word.  SO GOOD.  Salmon and asparagus and brussels sprouts and bread with homemade strawberry jam and potatoes sliced and lightly fried in oil in the oven and cauliflower and iced tea and this AMAZING chocolate torte for cake.  Makes a girl waddle, all that.

Zion REALLY enjoyed his chocolate torte.  ;)

That child manages to smudge himself from head to toe when he eats.  It's a special ability.  :D

Other pictures.  Virginia is so beautiful in the spring and start of summer, and mom and dad have a beautiful place!!

To properly end a day at Grandma and Grandaddy's, one must eat popcorn and juice before bed. Declareth the grandchildrens. 

Sometimes you really just have to get in there and get those popcorns.  ;)

The sweet little popcorn chasing bed head in the morning.

Happy birthday, Dad!!! We love you so much!!

Layla - "Mom, regular Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios are like little rings that don't fit us!"