Sunday, July 25, 2010

You think your doing o.k. as a parent, and then one of your kids licks a jellyfish.

We've been at the beach for a few hours.  We've eaten lunch and have settled into a lazy afternoon.  I'm laying on my blanket, I put my book down and shut my eyes as I listen to the rhythm of the waves against the voices of my kids as they enjoy the day. 

Soon the quiet is interrupted by a half yell, half groan.  I look up as one of my kids comes running over with his tongue hanging out, he is trying to say something.  (It sounded like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons.)  I couldn't understand what he wanted for a moment.  Then he was able to say "water!"  I hand him the water and watch him pour it on his tongue.  I'm still trying to figure out why is he acting so strange.  So I look at my other son who had come over to watch his brother.   My other son says, (With a grin on his face.)  "I told him I'd give him a dollar if he licked a jellyfish."  

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this particular child would lick a jellyfish.  That's the way parenting goes sometimes.  Regardless of what you have taught them, what example you have set, what you say, how much you nag and cajole.  Even regardless of their own knowledge.  They do something stupid.  There isn't anyone to blame or get mad at.  Stuff just happens.  You gotta roll with the punches. 

(His tongue was numb for a little while, but didn't seem to have any other effects from the dare.  His only regret was that he should have done it for more money.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Crazy busy

We have been crazy busy for years.  It's worse then ever right now.  Our oldest left on his mission 3 weeks ago.  We have sold our home and purchased another.  Our second son has graduated from high school and is preparing to leave for college.  He will stay in Maryland and work for the summer.  Our third and our fourth and sixth boys are playing baseball.  That's 5-7 games or practices a week to taxi them to and from and to try and watch some games.  Our third son finishes middle school and will be in high school in the fall.  Frank has had extra doctor appointments due to a minor health issue.  We have end of the school year band concerts and ceremonies to attend.  After taking many loads of belongings to our home in Virgina.  We are tired and sore.  We will move on Monday to a new state with only four children at home.   Things should get easier, right??  I'm planning an old fashioned summer.  The kind with sun, heat, and Popsicles.  The kind where kids wear the same clothes for days.  Swim suits.  I vow to read only fiction books.  Eat loads of farm market fruits and veggies.  I will watch my kids catch fireflies.  We will go on bike rides.  I will spend days without knowing what time it is.  We are limiting schedule events to bare minimum.  Not going to be busy anymore.  Well...until football!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

warranties and manuals

I'm cleaning out the file cabinet. Separating the owners manuals. The ones that stay here in the house and the ones that move with us. It's very much like when I gave away all the baby clothes. Bittersweet.

We have replaced every appliance in the house. We purchased the washer and dryer and the freezer the first week we lived here. Having 4 boys at the time, we bought the extra large capacity. It cut my laundry time in half.

The first appliance to go was the water heater. I remember the panic when there was unexplained water soaking the carpet in the basement.

Then, came the oven, microwave and refrigerator. One of them quit working and since all were old we purchase them to match. We super sized everything. Then the air conditioner quit working. It was August, in Washington D.C. I was pregnant and the humidity and heat was unbearable. I have never loved an appliance more.
When we remodeled the kitchen we purchase a new dishwasher. It's a excellent kitchen by the way. You don't have to take more then one step to bake or cook anything. There is an amazing amount of storage in those tall cabinets.

The last appliance to go on us was the heater. It was the original heater that was placed in the house when it was built. I remember quite a few years getting the old heater serviced and cleaned for the winter and wondering if that was going to be the year we had to buy a new one.

We also added siding, new glass doors, and gutter guard. It's a good house...and I have a binder full of warranties and manuals to show for it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sugarloaf Mtn. Hike

If you are looking for a great family hike, check out Sugarloaf Mtn. This Saturday morning in September started out with perfect temperatures. The entire trail is well shaded with beautiful views of the surrounding valley. We started out on the blue trail that circles the mountain. We then decided to take a right turn at the red trail to the summit. It got pretty steep and rocky. Perfect for a bunch of boys who love a challenge. Once we went over the top and down to the other side we picked up the white/blue trails around the mountain back around to the other side. We did miss a marker and had to back track a bit. This turned our 3.5 mile hike into 5 miles. The littlest at one point said, "Next time we do this, wait until I'm ten!" Well, the next time we do this will be soon. We are going to hit the Billy Goat Trail on the C&O Canal!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The evil me who loves a hard hit.

This is our eighth year of community league football. We had the kids play baseball, soccer, and basketball before our oldest, when he was in 5th grade begged us to let him play football. It didn't take me 5 minutes on that the field for the first time that I realized that this was a different game then any of the others we had played. These kids were tough athletes. I told my son it was OK if he wanted to quit. I think he wanted to, but out of stubbornness, was determined to finish the season. Soon, my son gained the respect from his coaches as he learned how to hit, block, and tackle. Since then, every one of my sons (the youngest will play his first season next year) has played at least one season of football. Some of them love it and play multiple seasons. My oldest played though high school. We have one playing this year. Number 99, the one getting tackled in the picture. (There was a 9 yard gain with that carry up the middle.) I remember the look of joy when he came off the field the first time he ran a tackling drill. It read something like, "I can't believe you people are letting me run as fast as I can and grab someone and knock him down!!!" Pure boy heaven.

Eight years ago I wasn't a big football fan. Now, I love the game. What is this evil side of me that loves a hard hit? I couldn't wait to hear shoulder pads knocking against each other. I think it's the strength, determination, and will power that it takes to overcome the opponent. Kids realizing their ability to be better and try harder. Kids doing hard things and feeling accomplishment and reward from the hard work and sweat of those hot August practices. Maybe it's the future, someday looking back as an adult and thinking, "if I did that then, then I can do this now."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oldest starts college and youngest starts Kindergarten.

My oldest has left for college and my youngest is in kindergarten. For 19 years the focus of my time has been on children. While I still have 5 children at home and one should not underestimate the energy that a child takes, even after moving out of the house. It really is amazing to have some solitude. Children are hard work. That never changes, but the nature of the work changes. Now that my work is changing, I have some time back. The solitude is peaceful and restful, renewing. No TV or music blaring. No soccer game in the family room. No one asking for help for anything. No doors slamming and the constant movement in the kitchen. Now I have some time to renew myself, to put some "oil back in the lamp."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On the water at the Cabin

A bad day at the cabin is better then a good day anywhere else!

A Picture speaks a thousand words. This is how the boys spent most of the days there. No tv, no video games, just trees, land, and water. O.k. and lots of fishing gear......

Zach found a swimming buddy, but I think Zach spent more time in the water then the duck.

Tyler sported a new "redneck" look.

Zach wanted to catch a fish and was out there for hours. Finally a he caught the attention of a medium sized blue gill who took a bite of his worm. We heard a scream! "Ahhh" Zach threw down his pole and ran from the dock... "I caught something!!"