Glancing Back at Summer

20140814_185833It is so refreshing to take a walk with my 5 year old. He is still young enough that he has a sharp eye for the things us bigger people just do not see. He did not want to come for a walk with me, but I dragged him along (literally had to do it for the first few steps, after that he was fine. 🙂 ) I needed out of the house and didn’t want to go by myself. We chatted for a while, found worms and slugs (a first for him). When we finally turned back around to go home, he hit the jackpot! No, not any chairs this time for it had been garbage day. (Baruch Hashem!) It was another amazing treasure for boys.  They might call it “Gold Dust,” but without the gold.

“Mommy, can I bring home some dust!?!?!?” (As if I need anymore dust in my house!) “It stays outside and does not come into the house.” “Ok. I need a bucket.” “Does it look like I have a bucket?” as I stand arms apart. I then precede to hand him an imaginary bucket. He laughs. I tell him to use his hands and carry it home.

He gathers some dust and we start to walk back home. He is careful, like a 5 year old, with his gold mine when I felt pity on him and started to wonder if he would have any gold dust left by the time we made it 15 minutes to the house. I offered to stop at a friend’s house on the way and ask if they might have a plastic cup or something we could have. Our friend found a paper towel and our gold was safe. Now, we had to make the trek BACK to the mine to fetch more dust.

We finally started walking back and found more worms and slugs. As we passed a worm, I bent down and gathered it up with a leaf to take it off the rough sidewalk and put it on the grass. He then told me to stop and he took out his dust and needed to put some beside the slug. I told him not to put it on the slug for that would not be nice, and he knew that, he just wanted to be nice and put it next to the slug. We then preceded to find more slugs so he could be nice to them as well. Not sure how that was being nice, but he felt it was the right thing to do. Cannot argue with a 5 year old!

It has been an interesting summer. I am still trying to figure out how it went. There is always 20140814_144503stuff we do not do during the year and I have been trying to make it up in the summer times. I think last year was the most successful year. I decided to work on that and have an even better summer with regards to things that needed to be done. I listed all the things we were going to work on this summer and made a schedule. It seemed like for a week or so things were going per my schedule, however, I did not like it. Something was missing. It finally dawned on me – I was not able to do my summer cleaning! For me, it was still like school. So, I decided to just keep the parsha, chitas,mishnayos, along with the new Gemara learning the boys are doing with their father (Makkos,) and one special project, everything else was ditched. I spent several days not doing much and feeling guilty about it (but not giving in to my guilt!) and by the end of the week I had a much nicer kitchen. I seemed to just have more time.

As some of you know by now, where we live we can recycle items by putting them out by the road. Last week my oldest came home:

“Mom, I need to get the wagon, I found a huge fish tank – with a stand, heater, light, filter, food and everything! Except the fish.” “We already have a fish tank.” (Not in use, but we have a nice 10 gallon tank.) “But Mom, this is a really HUGE one!” 😐 I try to explain to him that I am trying to get RID of things, not acquire more stuff. He was persistent.

“But someone let me put it on their lawn until I came back with the wagon!” Now he is making me feel guilty for he now has to fulfill a promise he made to someone.

I finally told him that he had to get rid of that amount of volume of stuff and he had to find a place for it. I even helped. I had him get rid of a broken 2 drawer cupboard for starters from the living room and he put the tank there. It is a 55 gallon tank. I made them check the seals of the tank in the tub before they were allowed to fill it up. In the end, the tank was filled in the living room and the filter turned on. After a few days the oldest took his hard earned money and bought 20lbs of rocks, a decoration, a backdrop and of course, two fish. The next morning we woke up to a nice surprise – a baby fish! We all learned something new – I thought all fish laid eggs, but there are also live bearers. So, off to the pet store we went to get a net to separate the little ones from the big ones, and we also got 4 more fish. It turns out we caught 7 babies in total, with 4 still alive. (Now is is an awesome time for the benefits of homeschooling! Love how we can learn, and in the middle of the day as well!)

I had been thinking that the summer was just not as nice as I was hoping, but if I look back and remember all the neat stuff that happened, and most were not planned, I realize that it did not turn out all that bad. Yes, there were things that I did not care for, but if things were to be different, all the nice things would have to change as well, and I am not willing to give up any of those. It is nice and comforting to sit and look at the fish. I enjoy peeking at the little babies every day.

In the meantime, I have done a little bit of cleaning in the basement and decluttering. I have a little bit more that I would like to do before school starts. I have decided on books for the boys and just have to put it into a schedule now, and before I get too worried, my not-even-14-year-old is starting college in just 4 more days! AHHHH! I’m fine, really, and I am so glad I am finished my schooling. I think it is time to look at the fish. 🙂

Wishing everyone the best in their new school year!

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!