Andrew turned 11!  We bought him a Kindle Paperwhite, after doing an enormous amount of research, and compromise in my head, since I love love love books and hate hate hate screens.  But honestly, this kid is an insatiable reader and I have a hard time keeping up with his trips to the library (and the batteries for his headlamps/flashlights he uses at night!:)  He was thrilled.
It seems like yesterday he was playing with Thomas the Train-one of my favorite photos of him!

And this little girl is two!  We bought her a little scooter (that I just gave her today because in the busyness of the weekend I forget it was hidden up in my closet) and just a few more things, like puzzles, and play food and a coloring book and crayons.  She loved being sung to, and opening her presents.  

Birthdays make me so sentimental (but having three in two weeks also keeps me so busy I don't let that run away from me.)  All I keep thinking about is how lucky I am to be a mom to these kids.  How lucky I am to hold them as infants, and wonder what they will be like as they grow, and then over course of many years, see that personality emerge.  It's wonderfully rewarding, each one of them with such different characteristics, each one learning about life and about themselves and their capabilities and gifts at different paces.  I can't imagine bigger work, a different life, anything close to as fulfilling as what I've done for the last 20 years.  


Back To School

Four down, one to go, and the last one is all mine, all day, and we are going to have some fun.  Fun meaning: quiet walks, books, cleaning, laundry, organization, meal making, and routine, routine, routine.  Because Janey and I both need it!

(Isaac graced us with his presence early in the morning.)

I remember when he Isaac looked like this, the year after we moved in to our house, with Abbey and Matt, who are now a freshman and senior:

 And off Andrew and Patrick go:

She'll cry next year, right now she is just confused-"where did those kids go?"

I have four different schools this year, four different start dates.  Highschoolers first.  Abbey has saved up so many electives she told me, "Mom don't ever ask me if I have my homework finished OK?  I don't have any!"  I am happy for her, she has worked hard the last three years.  She is taking a piano class, teaching herself to play.  Matt is playing soccer and loving it and working hard and loves high school.

That's enough for now-I have to make good use of nap time and put this house back together after all the wear and tear of summer days.

P.S. Thank you for all your birthday gift ideas for Janey!


Birthday Gift Ideas Needed!

Janey's second birthday is coming up and I'm in desperate need of a few great toddler girl gift ideas...I'm used to buying Lego and cars and Nerf guns and guys.  She has enough of those to play with.  Right now Janey has a little kitchen and a stroller she loves, and Abbey's old Bitty Baby and crib.  If you have had a little daughter this age, what is her favorite most played with toy? 


Still Alive and Catching Up

Beautiful summer clouds.

Oh, I wish that was me.  A nap sounds good.

Boys fighting summer boredom.

We had a chance to escape the construction and get away with friends to Bethany Beach.  We shared a big house and had so much fun.  The week flew by.  The kids had a great time in the waves, and I ate way way too much ice cream and caramel corn.

Thanks to Abbey I have some photos, because I didn't touch my camera once...and it must have felt neglected because it promptly broke as soon as I unpacked the darn thing-I'm without a camera for a week or two until I find a replacement.

The big boys came also, but I have no photos of either Isaac or Matt. :(

We are almost there addition-wise.  ALMOST there.  (Two months late, and why oh why can't we (meaning they) just finish already???)  I'm frustrated and can't wait for it to be over so I can wash my hands of all the stress (I will never ever do this again, mark my word, I know I said that last time we renovated this kitchen but this time I mean it I really really do) and just enjoy the extra space.  Here's a few pics of the kitchen:
I chose a marble look-a-like quartz for the island, and that's a great big pantry to the right.  A cookie sheet drawer is going above the double oven, not in place yet (which was my idea to save a contractor from their measuring mistake that could have been very costly.)  The roll of cork is going on side of fridge panel, and I have about 20 back to school papers waiting to stick on it. 

For now, I am trying to balance back to school prep and planning with enjoying these last beautiful days of summer vacation.