We’re All Back!


Firstly, I just want to start off by mentioning a correction to the previous post. Room613.net is also geared towards teenagers, it was just my impression that it was not (not sure how I came to that impression.) That said, we are still continuing on with our Judaics for the coming year that we have mapped out. Secondly, when you start tea time, expect to continue the tradition. 🙂 Cucumbers, watermelon and small bite sized pieces of brownies are all good, along with tea (or hot lemon water in our case.) 🙂 We have not been able to do it the last two weeks, but today boys were complaining, “We did not have tea time today!”

The last two weeks have been almost entirely away from home. We went to the same cabin on the 350+ acres that we went to last year. Other than the 90+ degree weather with no A/C, it was pretty good, but I do not think we will be going there next year20130719_142349. (And the best thing to do on a really hot Tisha B’Av with no A/C is to drive in the car that has AC all the way back home for an hour to drop off camp stuff!) If nothing else, I found out today, after I had to take my van into the shop to get fixed, that the porcupines that live by the cabin not only eat away at the balcony and the support beams underneath it, they like to eat away at wires under cars… The mechanic asked if I keep my car in the garage, no, outside. In the back? No, in the front. Apparently, rodents like to chew on wires under vehicles, but not usually when the vehicle is kept outside, in the front, on the driveway. I asked about porcupines; we not only heard them on the porch, but actually saw one underneath eating away at the support beams. Yes, porcupines + vehicles in fields = lots of damage and money to fix the damage. He could not give me even a rough estimate when he called for he was not finished taking everything apart to see the entire damage. He will be putting some cover over my wires to help prevent this from happening again. Since we only have one vehicle, I am carless for a while. The bonus to all of this is that we get to walk to the store or any other place we need to go and that means good exercise for all of us! There is a silver lining in everything. 😉

The first Shabbos at the cabin was rather quiet – just one little boy to entertain. Sunday morning we all got up to drive 4 hours to fetch the really missed 20130718_114244brothers from camp. It was good to have everyone back home. I really missed them. I think the lone brother missed them the most. It is not easy to want to play with someone and only Mommy is around and Mommy sometimes cannot play. Boy, it sure is good to have brothers!

Aside from that, the train, Corning Museum of Glass, blueberry picking and horseback riding were some of the main activities with horseback riding coming in tops for everyone (and blueberry picking a close second)! The youngest was too small to ride a regular horse so he got to have a pony ride around the farm. He then was lucky enough to be able to brush down and wash the pony. Both the pony and the little boy really enjoyed it. Oh, and I cannot forget about the birthday party #2 – afterall, it is not everyday that Grandpa comes down to visit! He was one lucky boy – a visit with Saba one day, and Grandpa the next, two birthday parties (and presents to match from each grandfather), and not to mention that this weekend there will, IY”H, be a THIRD party (for the same boy) for he was insistent that his friend comes over for a party, and since neither of the previous parties were at home, I promised him we will have one with his friend. Baruch Hashem my boys are very happy with simple things – a simple cake and a card and a small present is all that is needed to make someone happy, oh, and the occasional friend.

The Corning Museum of Glass was very interesting to go see. We have not been there before. The first section with glass art was not my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed going into the history section. They had the history of glass making, from the early times until the present, with all sorts of interesting facts and artifacts. We even got to see some glass making demonstrations such as the hot glass show and the flameworking.

Well, we got to pick up our sefarim yesterday! 3 sets of Rambam’s Mishneh Torah (English and Hebrew.) I spent several hours on Monday trying to clean out a small book case that we had, figuring it had 3 shelves and each set would fit on 2. I would just need to get one more book20130717_161519 case. I was almost correct. Yes, each set fits on 2 shelves, however, the bottom shelf is too short to put any books on. Never fear, I have ideas! In the meantime, the living room is a mess. Boys have taken all the books out of the boxes and have been labeling all of their 93 books. Wow. I did not realize how many books we really were getting until just now. I was just of thinking it as 31*3 and those in themselves are not that big, but to do the actual math problem, wow, multiplication is powerful! We were good and even started our learning today! One video from Rabbi Gordon from Chabad.org was listened too.

I cannot forget that we finally brought the organ inside! It was not as hard as I thought it would be. We used our Radio wagon, put some plywood on top, and used two 2×4’s and slid them under the organ with the other end of the boards on the wagon to make a ramp. We then pushed the organ up the ramp. We all held on while one boy very, VERY carefully and slowly pulled the wagon all away around from the garage to the front door. The tricky part came when we had to transfer the organ from the wagon up the 2 steps into the house. With some creative thinking and cooperation, we got it into the house. Since it is mine, only I was allowed to clean it all up. Boys wanted to help but I refused. I told them to vacuum the carpet. 😉 Everyone anxiously awaited the moment when they could touch and then play the new instrument. I have not played the organ in almost 17 years – it is amazing how even though I play the piano a little here and there, my organ playing is terrible! It was hard reading all those staves again! I had to go way, way back to the really early days and the very easy music to get back in the swing of reading everything again. “Mommy, how can your feet play all the right notes and you are not even looking?” I smiled and proudly told my son, “I started on the organ!” That was one thing I was pleasantly surprised about; my feet still knew where to go after all these years. They were even more surprised to find out that their Dad used to play the organ as well.

I have also spent the last two days finding the books I need for my oldest. With Ambleside Online, almost everything is non-consumable, so since I have books from my oldest, the younger children have their books as well. Finally, I put all the books in the Amazon shopping card, as well as two printer inks, and 20130723_160843pressed the order button. Among the books ordered were organ books (it is not easy to find beginning organ books now!). All four boys are so excited and want me to give them organ lessons. I told them I do not have time to teach them both the piano AND the organ. 4 for the organ it is. Though they are not happy that I am not teaching them yet. I appeased them when they saw I was ordering music books first. Unfortunately, unlike the electronic piano that I have, you cannot put headphones into the organ! At least there is the volume control, it helps. A little. 😉

Anyways, I am saying sweet dreams to everyone and I am off to bed to dream about the fact that I am now officially also an organ teacher. 🙂

My Vacation

20130707_081408I have been so excited for this week to come! It is one week in the entire year that I have for me; the older boys are off at camp and I get this week to myself! And then on Shabbos it hit me. My almost 4 year old will be home with just me. Me and no brothers to keep him busy. Just me. He has been so looking forward to Mommy time. Don’t get me wrong, that is a very nice thing except that I realized that Mommy time is going to take up his entire waking hours. You see, with 3 older brothers who are home all day, who needs to learn to play by himself? Ok, so I do not have much of just me time and I can’t go out for a walk or a bike ride by myself for no one is there to look after a 3 year old and I can’t go out to the store to get the things we need when we are out when he is sleeping, but yeah, there are still lots of wonderful things about having just the one boy around.

The older boys left yesterday morning to go to scout camp. Daddy took them. I was supposed to go along except a little 3 year old was sick and throwing up20130707_151518. This put a crink into the day if only because of one thing – my boys do not get sick! Baruch Hashem, and let it stay that way. A loving Daddy bought some ginger ale before leaving for with our only vehicle gone and with a sick boy, it does not make for a day to be able to even walk to the neighborhood 7-11 to get some. We made it. After a nice needed nap he was allowed to do what sick boys get to do to keep them occupied so they can rest in bed and not be as antsy – nice educational videos. Baruch Hashem he feels good as new today. He is even learning to sleep in a big room all by himself.

Someone told me to take this time and do something for myself, so I heeded that advice. I started cleaning the house. It is amazing how much I can get done when I am doing all the work – and how clean things actually get! Living room and library were both cleaned to my satisfaction, swept and mopped, except for 1 pile of papers in each room. Not bad. Today was the garage and the cleaning of the kitchen cabinet doors. Oh, and I stumbled upon an amazing thing today – when the boys are not home it is great to clean for I can actually not only leave the room for a moment and expect it to stay the way I left it, I can even go to sleep for several hours and it will still stay the same! It feels pretty good to be able to have a few moments when the house will stay the way I want it.

Today we cleaned the garage in anticipation of our new instrument! I finally got an organ! Bonus – it was free and so was the transportation to my garage where it is now being stored until the bigger boys come home to help me move it into the house. My husband is so excited about it, almost as much as I am. He says I need to find a place for it. I tell him, it will fit in the house and that I have ideas. I have a few weeks until I need to have the answer.

20130708_125931This last week or so my husband and I have been trying to figure out what we should do next year for Judaics. We have spent the last 4 years with Room613.net and it has worked out really well. However, we decided our oldest, who is going to be bar mitzvah in a few short months (how did that happen?) was ready to move on. My husband and I are ones who do not mind thinking outside the box. Hey, the fact that we have been homeschooling for 8 years now proves it! What started out as an exercise in trying to figure out Judaics for one boy, ended up with something for all boys – that’s one bonus in having children close in age. (The other is being able to send them all to the same camp at the same time!) We have spent the last week mulling it over in our minds, bouncing it off the minds of different individuals to get thoughts and reactions and have finally decided we are going to do it. The boys are going to do Rambam’s Mishneh Torah next year. We chose that for it encompasses all aspects of our lives. We do not necessarily follow all that the Rambam says, but he does cover everything from each of the 613 mitzvos to davening, shmita year, maaser and other topics that do not necessarily apply to us today, but we should know about them.

Now, this seems fine until I mention that we are not going to do the 3 year cycle where you do one chapter a day for 3 years before completing – there are 31 sefarim in the set. No, we are doing the 1 year cycle – doing 3 chapters a day and finishing it off in about a year. Yes, I know exactly what that entails and what we are getting ourselves into. Each chapter is going to take, on average, 35-45 minutes to do. And yes, everyone that we have mentioned it to has looked at us as if we were crazy. However, since that is basically all they are going to do for Judaics, it should be more than reasonable. Children in schools spend the entire morning on Judaics, and so are we. Of course the boys are also going to do parsha/Yomim Tovim as well as continue on with their mishnayos. We are not expecting them to learn it inside and out, that will only happen by going through things multiple times. My goal is to get them to go through it. They will pick up according to each of their abilities, which is amazingly more than most of us would imagine. People learn through time. Our minds will take something we have learned or something we are thinking about and put it in the subconscious. The subconscious thinks about it and over time we get new ideas and thoughts about it. Then we can go back and learn more on the topic.

I found these wonderful videos on Chabad.org by Rabbi Gordon. He has a wonderful video for each and every chapter of Rambam’s Mishneh Torah. He reads and translates as well as explains very nicely what is going on. My idea is to listen to 2 of his videos a day with the other chapter being read and then translated by boys. This is to help boys with their personal reading. Two birds with one stone. We would obviously take breaks in between each video and not do it all at once. And, I might even stagger the times throughout the day so that one little then-to-be 4 year old is not left hanging by himself for hours on end and being bored. And yes, this is a very rigorous feat we are going to do. We were told something on Shabbos – if you start this goal, do not quit, do not alter it, do not make the goal easier. Even if you get behind 1 day, 2 days, 3 days or more. Each day is a new day. Start fresh and continue on. The only thing that should change, if needed, is the end date. I liked this.

Today I ordered 3 sets of Mishneh Torah. One for each boy. They will be theirs to keep when they move out. The only condition is that we get to use them when we want/need to, even when they move out. Where we are going to put them, I do not know. As any homeschooling family knows, bookshelves are sacred – second only to the Torah and sefarim which are held on them. I have ideas. I have time before they come in. 😉

In the meantime, I miss my boys, even with the cleaner house.

And….. We’re Done!

20130618_125239 (1)We are finally done! Yeah! We are done for I said we are done. I figured that when I spent the last day cleaning (happily) instead of working on schoolwork, we were done. It’s not that we are not going to work anymore until the fall, it is that I am so ready (and so are the boys) to finish up and start something new. The boys knew yesterday was going to be the last day, but it was not until the following conversation that it became reality:

Me to a boy : “Do you have any books we did not finish?”Boy: “No.”
Me: “No?”
Boy: “No. When am I finished school?”
Me: “Now.”

So one boy was finished and that forced a brother to finish his one last reading before his schooling was finished. The third boy, well, he finished his reading and by default he is finished as well. He still has a few more readings in a couple of books, but I just might tell him to go and read them some time. It is time to finish. Sometimes it is not that the material was completely, 100% finished, sometimes it is when even the teacher has spent all her energy on the year and would rather wash toilets than teach one more day; it is when every last drop of energy is used up and there is nothing left to give that school is finished.

Don’t get me wrong, we have TONS of learning that we have planned to do this summer, more than usual. It is all the stuff that we have not been able to put into the school year but want or need to do. And it is everything from continuing math everyday to dik duk, to piano lessons and practicing, to laining and watching those chemistry videos on Khan Academy that one boy is just so excited about watching (even though I have no clue if he is even up to that level yet, but I will not say no!) We also have some field trips I would like to do as well as the weekly/daily elective of green foliage picking outside (a.k.a. weeding!) Ah, don’t forget the long awaited sleep away scout camp for a week and the week long family outing with Grandpa afterwards.

We did have an exciting week at “camp.” The boys had a 3-day online camp all about castles and catapults. They had lots of fun and learned a lot, not only about castles and catapults, but about daily lives of peasants and nobles, knights and, of course, weapons! It was a very interactive class purchased from Currclick. Two boys created a castle for their camp project while another boy put together a Power Point presentation on coat of arms. Bonus? It was only $15 for all three boys, how could I say no?

One thing that I have taken from the conference was the idea that everything has its time. It is very easy to go around the house and say, “Oh, this needs to get done, and that needs to get done but I can’t do it all!” One of the speakers was talking about how she does all her laundry on a certain day. If it is not that day, then she does not do it. The same goes for other things that need to get done. Now, I can’t do my laundry all in one day, and I do need to wash and dry a load every morning as I go and iron a shirt for DH. However, I decided for last week and this week that I was not going to fold and put away the laundry until Friday. Friday we have time. It was amazing how liberated I felt all week, knowing that I did not have to worry about when I was going to do it! It is the same for my suppers – I take a few minutes every Sunday, before I go shop, and I have a list of each item I need for the week. I do not have to worry about what is for supper while I make lunch, and I do not have to worry about not having ingredients. I am feeling a bit more free! So, no, the guest bed downstairs is rarely empty, but I worry less about the clothes.

I am very excited to start our summer routine, and I don’t mind the teaching, I just need to teach new things. I am also excited about the next school year. Two boys already have all their materials from their oldest brother, so that just leaves books for Boy #1 and not to forget our newly almost-4 year old who is


“officially” a Pre-schooler! My, where has the time flown? Baruch Hashem we have reached this point for the last two months have been hard on the both of us for he has so wanted to start school and I was being stubborn and not wanting to START a boy (who I was not prepared to start) when all his brothers were FINISHING for the year. I could not muster up any energy to even think about what would be good for him.

“Mommy, what was I before I was a pre-schooler?””What do you mean?”
“What grade was I in before?”
How to tell such a little boy that he was not in any grade before? He could not fathom him NOT in a grade, and I could not think of a “grade” when put on the spot, for after all, his brothers were all in grades, so of course was he.

As the sun is shining outside and the day is hot, and our over baked challahs, chicken soup, cookies, zucchini bread and cinnamon buns are done, welcome to summer! Now is the time to think about how to revamp our school corner while noticing how neat it actually looks today (!!!), finish the little bit of cooking that is left, fold laundry and straighten the house, and of course, enjoy some of the re-jew-venating sunshine and heat so that we are relaxed and ready to enjoy this week’s Shabbos.

Until next time, have a most wonderful and relaxing Shabbos!

It’s Not Summer Yet

20130602_091100Well, I made it to Monday! I actually did enjoy myself camping despite the fact that my arms and legs look and feel like I have the chickenpox. It was as if those mosquitoes were starved and no one had come to visit them in days (or hours)! Even though it was hot and mosquito free in the sun and cool and mosquito infested in the forest and we were lucky to be included in a storm on Saturday evening that went through the night, I had a good time. It is always nice to be away in nature and to be able to enjoy and appreciate Hashem’s creations. No phones, no internet, very few cars. The only noises were the various birds that sang some gorgeous music starting at 4:30 in the morning. Our boys enjoyed it as well. They even got up at 4:30 in the morning on Shabbos morning to play frizbee in the field (we constructed an eruv as well.) Showers were had by all when we got back on Sunday to clean up and remove any lingering insects that thought our home would be better than their home. And yes, I was told of some of interesting places where those lingering bugs were found, I just won’t mention them here!

Monday was a day where I got little done, on purpose. The boys emptied most of the car, the tents and sleeping bags were opened up in the backyard and aired out and dried the day before, and eventually they all got rolled up again Monday. We davened, did parsha and math. I just would not do much more other than laundry and some basic cleaning up of the kitchen. we listened to Mishnayos in the evening and then the big surprise came when I realized the boys were in bed ON TIME; and not the “new usual” since Daddy’s accident, it was the real bedtime! If nothing else, that did put a nice smile on my face since I was annoyed that it took almost 4 hours to pack up all the tents in the backyard and there were only 5 of them.

Today went much better. We got off to a late start but managed to pack in outside davening, not just one but two sessions of math, piano practicing, merit 20130602_085044badge completion including the required counselor signature, dropping off camp forms to be filled out by the boys’ doctor, mishnayos and even some cleaning by boys on their own! It started off by one beautiful boy waking up and being dressed before the parents got out of bed, him helping make his father’s lunch, doing his breakfast job before I could even finish eating, davening with his father, and not to mention coming over, on his own accord, to massage my shoulders. I was not sure what he wanted from me, but with nicely massaged shoulders I was most likely going to say yes to whatever it was. To thank him to the punch, I handed him a new treat I bought that was supposed to have been for fast helpers in rolling up the tents but never happened for the fast helpers were replaced with snails. A little brother wanted an extra special treat as well, however, I blurted out that extra special treats go to boys to do extra, extra special chores all on their own. Smile. So, while davening, the already davened boy cleaned up the front yard, including picking up lots of trash, did lots of work in my kitchen by being proactive and putting away the remaining bags of groceries from the previous day and meriting himself a second extra special treat. The youngest also wanted to help and so he kept asking me for chores and so that is how I got my kitchen and dining room swept AND mopped as only a 3 year old can do and earned himself an extra, extra special treat as well. 🙂 Unfortunately none of the others took the bait. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to take what I can get!

As I started to feel good about myself with regards to how nice the day went I remembered something: It was not summer time yet and we still have school work to finish. Minor details. 😐 So, tomorrow morning is going to start by figuring out what each boy has left to do and making a short schedule on how to finish it.  Technically we have 1.5 weeks of school before the end of the year, and I think we can get it all in except math. Thank goodness for summer!

20130602_091037In some of my down time, which I actually had today, I was excited about the summer. I thought of all sorts of stuff for the boys to do that we just do not get to do during the year because of time; more math, typing practice (we started last summer), dik duk, Hebrew, more piano practice and lessons, chemistry from Khan Academy by request from boy #3, and the list went on. Hmm. Perhaps I need to rethink our summer? I *had* been thinking about just a couple of classes a day for the summer, but there is just so much I want to do! Perhaps Camp Harper is going to be more than just playing like planned. I am wondering if I can make a Camp Harper that is more of an educational camp that lasts through lunch. Can I make it fun as well? There is going to be one week of Scout camp for three boys – overnight sleeping in tents through rain and shine which overlaps a bit with a visit from Grandpa, but can I really pull off putting in a lot of good learning in the summer AND keeping it fun? I will have to mull that over in my mind. It will, most likely, have to include a field trip of some sort somewhere most weeks to help liven it up; picnics to various places near us, one20130602_085218 or two trips to the zoo, maybe even a walk down the Erie Canal to visit some neat shops that are down the path. What ever the case is, I think I will have much better luck if we start off the summer by making camp shirts. The boys always liked doing that in the past when we did do it.

I still have a few weeks to think about the summer, and not to mention look for next year’s books that I need to order so I can read them (hopefully) before school starts, and don’t forget to figure out what school work to do with a newly 4 year old; though he has taken to Readingeggs.com for beginning ABC’s and especially their new math program. I’m about ready to find La La Land now, there is a lot to do tomorrow morning and just the fact that when I’m there I don’t itch is a good reason to go! Oh, and yes, the boys got into bed within a few minutes of the real bedtime again tonight. We might be on a roll. 🙂

Vacationing in the Boonies

For one whole week we spent a wonderful time up in a cabin, on the top of a mountain, on 350 acres.  It was one of the best weeks we have ever had.  Grandpa came with us as well.  It was a nice cabin, with several acres of mowed grass around it, many more acres of unmowed grass  – the size of a landing strip for a plane, which, on occasion does land there, and hundreds of acres of just forest.  I think the only thing we would try to do different is to take more opportunity to explore the gorgeous forest and not wait until the second last day.

Since the cabin was a long ways away from any electric lines, the owners decided it would be to their economic advantage to install solar panels and have a backup generator instead of having to pay for the electric line ($40,000 vs. $80,000!)  That was to our advantage for several times we got to fly our new kite.  Unfortunately, only one new kite was able to be flown for there was not enough wind for the other two, but we had a lot of fun sharing.  When you get the kite up several hundred feet, you just need to sit there holding the string, the kite flies by itself for there is a lot of wind up there.

Monday we went exploring in the van.  We found out this week that one cannot always trust a map.  We had two different (both detailed with contour lines, etc.) maps, and they both showed a road going into a state forest.  However, when we arrived at the state forest, no road!  The GPS on the phone said there was no road, and the road sign said it was a dead end.  We know from experience that GPS’s are not always reliable either, and normally we just use them to see where we are.  We decided to take the only other possible road, which turned to the side.  We thought that might be the state forest for there was gate there and sometimes state forests and parks have gates.  We opened the gate and drove on.  Well, the road was not conducive to vans, but we drove on.  At one point we decided to turn around for it did not really look like a state forest road and then got stuck!  After walking around we noticed a house not too far in front of us and figured we were not on a state road, but how to get out?  Lots of man power, and B”H we had as many people as we did for even one less person and I don’t think we would have made it.  Lesson learned:  Trust road signs.

As we were making our way back home, trying hard to stay on the real road, we come across signs that state it was a real road, but that the bridge was closed 1000 feet ahead. Grandpa wanted us to stop, for the bridge was closed – read the sign!  So, we did, and most of us got out and walked the 1000 or so feet…… only to come to another sign, for cars coming the opposite direction that said….. bridge closed 1000 feet…. Uh, well, we just walked right on through and there was nothing wrong with the road.  Lesson learned: Can’t always trust the road signs!

Tuesday we went touring the Amish region.  It was interesting to see that people really do live a life almost identical to life 100 years ago.  We saw the horse and buggies (though that is nothing new for us where we live, but still neat to see it anyways,) wheat that was cut and stacked in the fields – 7 bundles to a stack, men plowing, men cutting up wood into boards and all the wood craft and quilt shops.  We stopped in a wooden toy shop and a couple of boys bought something there.

Wednesday was a trip on a steam engine!  TOOT TOOT!  Look at all that black smoke coming out of the top!  It was a nice, relaxing time for me.  3 boys wanted to sit with Grandpa, and that left me with just 1 and it was the perfect time of day for on the way back that 1 boy just wanted to lay there almost falling asleep. 🙂

Thursday we did some geocaching.  We found most of them.  We actually did a bit of geocaching the entire week, but this afternoon was dedicated mostly to it.  We also learned that not all state forest roads are maintained.  We came across one that had a fallen tree in the middle of it.  All 5 big boys went out to try to move it.  Unfortunately it was just too long, however, DH being adventurous as he was, decided we took enough of the top away that he could drive around it, over the mud hole, and that is just what he did.  However, he was smart enough to know that we had to find a different route out of the park 🙂

Friday it rained, and the boys ate popcorn and watched a few National Geographic DVD’s about pirates!  Challah and cinnamon buns filled the air Erev Shabbos, as well as the lack of electricity (B”H the oven was gas and still worked!)  To their credit, the owner showed up within minutes and got the generator started (it was supposed to start automatically when the solar energy ran out but didn’t.)  DH spent time doing orienteering work with the boys.  They learned how to read the map, and the contour lines on a map, along with other compassing work.

The rain was a nice welcome, for Shabbos was nice and cool.  We had all the windows open (like we had all week), but we did not need to  have any fans going, so Shabbos morning we woke up to the sounds of birds…and quiet.  It was so peaceful!  We made our first trek into the 300+ acres of forest and saw butterflies and moths and bumblebees and even a snake!  DH and I walked around the whole grassed area.  It was pretty cool to be at one end and look back at the cabin – yellow flowers all over the grass, I just about ran right through pretending to be Laura Ingalls in the show from Little House on the Prairie.  🙂

Sunday morning, the sun got up early, and so did I.  I spent most of the morning packing up.  We decided to walk down a path to a road and since Grandpa did not want to walk with us, he got to pick us up.  Such a beautiful trek – about half of the walk was done solely on property we rented, and most of the rest was in what seemed an “alley” between properties.  GPS was great this time!

On the way out, we stopped off at a Scandinavian festival outside of Jamestown, NY and got pictures of a life size replica of a Viking ship (a small one, more of a fishing boat – not the size of one crossing an ocean).  We ending up in Niagra Falls for pizza for supper and finally made our way back home.  All in all, we had a good time, and have lots of nice memories!  We even got to finish off Grandpa’s visit with a birthday supper for my now 3 year old.  Happy Birthday MA!

First Week of Summer

All week we have davened outside in our backyard.  I do not know why I never did that before.  It is so beautiful, sunny, warm, who would NOT want to be outside? I told the boys to get their siddurs and go outside for we were going to daven.  On Friday morning, one boy asked if we were going to daven outside.  I had forgotten that is what we had been doing but it took me just a moment to say yes.  I am so glad we did!  It felt so good to be outside, and bonus was that my almost 3-year-old-going-on-50 was able to run around outside leaving me free to actually daven with the older boys as well!

Well, I thought I would be off to a good start by making a schedule of our summer.  There are things we do not get to do during the school year that I am planning to do this summer.  So, yes, I did do a schedule and a beautiful boy did enter it into Excel and yes, we did save it! So, why have we done nothing on the list except for davening -and even that ended up being done late, and later each day this week?

I think I figured it out this morning.  For four days the boys went to Twilight Camp.  It is a Cub Scout camp in the evenings (5:30-8:30 pm).  They had so much fun running around, climbing, playing games, learning all sorts of fun things, that by the time we got home and into bed they were sleeping before they hit their pillows!  They were so worn out that they did not wake up until after 9 am, so our mornings did not start until almost lunch time.  But, they had fun, lots of fun, and my oldest who is too old for Cub Scouts and is in Boy Scouts went as a staff member and had lots of fun as well.  That’s what it’s all about. 🙂

So, yes, I have a schedule for summer, and today I was excited to try starting again.  One boy went on the plane by himself to see Grandpa and have a blast these next few days.  Lunch when we got home yesterday was silent.  You could hear a pin drop.  Even though I don’t miss the kibbitzing when all three older boys are home, I do miss him.

Today, I had all intentions of starting our summer schedule.  I really did.  I even got up before my husband got up (and that is telling everything!)  I got my husband off to work, had to wake boys up for they were still sleeping, and then I got to work.  Sweeping, mopping, washing, and cleaning.  By 10:04 I had all sorts of stuff done and was feeling pretty good and we were almost ready to go daven. Davening again happened outside.  It was beautiful.  I just didn’t feel like doing any school work, I came inside, made some more tea, and then told my son I was going for a nap.  After the nap, we had lunch outside and I spent the next hour or so reading to the boys.

I resigned to the idea that I’m taking a break and doing something that I actually want to do, not just need to do.  So, cleaning and organizing is going to be our schedule for the week.  I know I won’t get it all done, but the goal is that I will be a long ways over.  I’m confident that it will get done.  Schoolwork can wait until next week.

I think I’m going to end here, I am having a hard time thinking for now my almost 3 year old who is now out of diapers (yeah!) now knows that the water we drink turns to pee after he asked me why he needed to have more water, and as I am trying to type, I’m trying to answer his question on why people need gas that comes from our tummy.

And anyways, the brownies are done, and I’m going to get my 8 year old who went to bed (but is up reading his new 800 page Mark Twain collection I got him yesterday)  so he can have some too.  After all, it’s summer!