Each fall, our school shuts down for a week because a large fair is held in our town. Yes, it’s weird to have five weeks of school and then a week-long fall break. It’s also off-season almost everywhere you could possible vacation, so we like to take the week to travel and avoid crowds. We’ve used this week to visit empty beaches, a less-than-crowded Disneyworld, Colonial Williamsburg, and more.
This year, we took the camper to southern New England. It was the first time we had headed north at the end of September and the packing was a challenge. T-shirts? Sweaters? Shorts? Winter coats. It turns out, we needed them all. Fortunately, I am a master packer when it comes to getting as many clothes in the camper as possible, so we were ready.
We began our first weekend in Mystic, CT at the aquarium and the Seaport. On our way to Massachusetts, we made a stop in Newport, RI to walk the Cliff Walk and check out the huge mansions. Our main base for the week was Foxborough, MA where we stayed at Normandy Farms Campground. It was a good central location. Throughout the week, we traveled into Boston several times, and also visited Hyannis and Plymouth.
I’ll be releasing videos on our YouTube channel of our travels in the coming days. For now, here are some highlights of our trip:
Visiting the bookstore of my alma mater, Boston University
Cruising the Boston Harbor
The Breakers in Newport, RI
Our campsite at Normandy Farms
The Mystic Aquarium
Recently, our toilet was leaking and had to be turned off. Fortunately, we have others.
To make sure no one used it accidentally, 12yo made a helpful sign. I especially appreciated the sad faces. I really felt for them. They seemed so disappointed. Hopefully, they felt better once Jim repaired the toilet.
This weekend, we got away to “moochdock” with friends at their family farm. We were an hour from Corning, so we decided to head that way to check out the glass museum. To watch our visit on YouTube, click HERE.
I had never been there before and I was certainly impressed. For starters, all of our kids got in for free! Jim and I were also able to use our AAA membership to get a discount. We paid for admission and purchased a sandblasting experience for 6yo for less than $50. That’s not bad for a family of 5!
My favorite exhibit was the contemporary art, Jim loved the historical section, and 12yo’s favorite was the Frederick Carter Gallery. There was something for everyone.
Special kudos goes to the museum for constructing a scavenger hunt for kids that was perfect for 6yo and still fun for the older kids. Looking at 35 centuries worth of glass wouldn’t be considered fun in our house unless you can turn it into a game.
I will be uploading a video of our adventures soon. I am so glad we made the trip. It was a very fun day!
As soon as 6yo got in the car yesterday, I asked him how his third day of school was.
6yo: “Awesome! Jerry, Lucas, and I are going to start a band!”
Me: “Really? That’s great. What are you going to play?”
6yo: “Well, I’m going to play guitar, Lucas will play keyboards and Jerry will play the drums.”
Me: “Oh, so you’re going to have a 3-man band, huh?”
6yo: “No, Katelyn’s in our band, too.”
Me: “Oh, is she going to be the singer?”
6yo: “No, she’s going stand in the back of the stage and shoot T-shirts with our faces out to our fans so they can wear them!”
This week, we all went back to school: pre-school, first grade, seventh grade. I even celebrated my 35th first day of school.
Everyone had a great day, from what I can tell. 12yo didn’t share much, which is typical. 6yo told me first grade was more boring than kindergarten, but he still had a good day. 3yo’s preschool teacher said she picked up all the routines like she had never left.
My first day was preceded by several long days of me trying to put my room back together after construction in our building. I’m really excited to be in a new room, but it’s not finished, so I’m still figuring out where everything will go. Despite the unfinished condition of the building, the kids still came in on Tuesday, and we made it work. When all is said and done, the building will look great.
Here’s to another great school year for our family!
It’s monsoon season here in NEPA. Twice in the last month our area has been covered in several inches of rain and flash flooding has been a serious problem. Many roads have been closed or washed away. Yesterday, a video of a travel trailer floating down a local stream was making its rounds on Facebook.
My heart goes out to all the families who found several inches of water rushing into their homes. For families with children, the start of school is right around the corner and now they have to spend time cleaning, disinfecting, and repairing their homes on top of getting ready for the new school year. I’m also praying the hurricane season is kind this fall and our river levels don’t rise.
If you find yourself flooded and in need of aid, please reach out. There are many people who have offered their time and homes to those in need.
If you are out there rescuing people from their homes or cars, thank you for your service and we are praying for your safety.
In her own quiet way, 11yo became 12yo over the weekend with a small party with family and friends. I remember when she was little, we threw elaborate parties with themes and scavenger hunts and gift bags. Maybe we’ll do that again one day, but for now she is happy with a few balloons and her favorite birthday menu: pizza and corn-on-the-cob.
It’s also amazing how much smaller gifts get as your kids get older. No longer is she opening giant plastic monstrosities with beeps and blinking lights. Now, all of her gifts fit nicely into a few gift bags and consist mainly of clothes and books.
It’s a nice change.
On the other hand, I have two other children under the age of seven, so I doubt my days of giant plastic gifts are quite over.
My kids get two hours of screen time each day during the summer: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Shortly after they run out of screen time, they begin following me around with a whiny chorus of “I’m bored.” My response this summer has been, “well, go be bored somewhere else.” They look at me like I’m such a cruel mom, but here’s the truth: it’s a privilege to be bored.
The ability to have a moment in the day so free that you don’t know how to fill it is an experience millions of people around the world never know. They’re too busy working, caring for others, or just trying to stay alive. The ability to be bored is a gift. Bored kids aren’t neglected, they’re fortunate.
It’s surprising how quickly they can find something to do if I dismiss their pleas instead of immediately give them an activity to fill their time. Rarely do they just sit and stew in their boredom. Often, their most creative play grows from my ignoring their boredom and leaving them to their own devices.
I’m blessed to be home with my kids in the summer and we get to spend a lot of time doing fun activities together, but there’s a benefit for all of us if they have to keep themselves occupied for a portion of the day.
They next time one of them complains they are bored, I think I’ll respond with, “wow, you’re so lucky!”
For my grandmother’s upcoming birthday party, our family was given the task of providing the birthday cake. Normally, I would order a cake from our favorite bakery then talk my brother into picking it up. Two minutes, and I’m done. I’d like to say I thought this time cake baking would be a fun alternative, but the truth is that I simply forgot to order a cake. (Whoops!). So, baking was our only option.
Normally, I would just ask 11yo to take care of it because she loves to bake. When I brought it up, (much to her chagrin) the littles wanted to be in on the action. So, instead of having one cake, we made three! To save time, we used boxed cake mixes (on sale for $1!) and canned icing for decoration. We DID make our own buttercream frosting as a base. And sprinkles. So…..many…..sprinkles.
It turned out to be a fun experience and everyone at the party enjoyed their multiple cake options.
Today, during dinner prep, 3yo held up a large plastic spoon and asked “Why dis a spoon?”
After a day of work, picking up kids, exercising dogs, and squeezing in a workout, this simple question broke my brain.
Why IS this a spoon?
Thinking back, I should have said, “It has a long handle and a small bowl on the end, making it a spoon instead of a fork or knife.”
At the time, my brain just couldn’t handle coming up with that simple explanation. Instead, it malfunctioned.
My inner monologue:
Why IS that a spoon? Is it really a spoon? Is it only a spoon because we say it is a spoon? Could it be something else? Why can’t we just decide it is a fork or a knife? Despite its shape, I can still ineffectively pick up food, cut food, and stab you with it. (“Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe something?” “Because it’s dull, you twit. It’ll hurt more.” Miss you, Alan Rickman.) Can’t I call it a miniature shovel? It works the same way. Do labels really mean anything? Why do we even HAVE names for things? This spoon has slots, so it doesn’t even do the one simple job a spoon is SUPPOSED to do! How can it be a spoon if it doesn’t even HOLD all the FOOD?! It should be in a completely different category of objects, one filled with things that only partially do their jobs. Like a doily. What the hell is a doily for? It’s a covering that doesn’t cover things. It gives the illusion of covering things, but really there are more uncovered spots than covered spots. It’s like a rain coat made of fishing nets. It looks like a coat, but it’s not keeping any water off your body! That’s why I don’t have any doilies.
Because I did not respond immediately, she asked again: “Why dis a spoon, Mommy?”
My answer: “Because it is.”
And it’s only Monday.