This post will be all over the place as August is.
An overwhelming sentimental feeling came to me this afternoon as we celebrate Andrew’s 13th birthday today (post written days ago but just finished today.). Birthdays are always sentimental for moms I think, but mixed with back to school sentimentality also, as Andrew’s and Janey’s birthdays are, I can get some pretty funky feelings going. I have a good friend that feels the same as me (hi Kitty) so we often commiserate this time of year as we stem our weeping (or alternate between tears and stuffing our feelings with dessert.;)
This is one of Kitty’s desserts, isn’t it gorgeous?
I love so much about school from the supplies to the uniforms to the fresh start, and I can almost cry with gratitude over the little Catholic school my children have and are attending-there is absolutely no trepidation facing the school year there, the staff, the teachers, the little bubble of specialness that exists on the side of the river that runs through our town is perfection. I would keep them there from preschool to college if I could.
In our weekly newsletter the principal outlines, because of the Year of Mercy, the school’s monthly themes-one spiritual work, one corporal work. I just love this.
August and September Works of Mercy:
Shelter the Homeless and Welcome the Stranger
Bear Wrongs Patiently
I have plans to talk about these at home each week too, at the dinner table together. I have a lot of plans right now but first I am going to get through these birthdays and Janey’s preschool start day and I will have some time to make my plans “come true”.
(I have made a super effort to eat dinner every night together, even if that means eating at 7:30 pm. This usually means an after school snack that is like a dinner, and then the dinner itself. It’s not my favorite way to do it, but right now the boys are doing cross country and soccer on alternating days, and I have Matt’s work schedule and Isaac’s schedule also to work around.)
Janey rode a bus to drop Andrew off at camp and was in heaven.
This purple outfit was her favorite and she wore it every other day all summer long.
A beautiful old-fashioned camp.
Andrew went to a “reunion camp” for a week-the 6th graders go for a short week during school and have a blast, and then are invited back for a next to nothing fee during the summer months. Abbey and Matt wanted to go and loved it and Andrew did also, although we worried about him because he was coming right off his Hawaii vacation and felt a little worn down and heck it was hot that week. I worried all week and missed him and then went to pick him up and he had SO MUCH FUN. Big sigh of relief. He lost his soap on the second day, he told me which made me laugh and send him right to the shower as soon as we arrived home.
Andrew in Hawaii-he had a wonderful time and was so grateful for the experience. The father of the family who took him texted us and said something about how Andrew is so fun to be around because he is excited about every new experience. I was so so happy when I heard that because I don’t ever want my kids to lose that grateful wonder as they experience new things-which I think only comes from not experiencing new things all the time. I worry about it as they have so much more than I ever did and don’t want to “spoil” them. I don’t think this is some barometer of good parenting at all, but I do think it’s fun to be around someone who appreciates getting the pop when out for pizza instead of expecting or demanding it, or appreciates eating out period, or going on a vacation, or staying in a hotel room and it is HARD to do these days because I think most kids including mine are given so much than both Jeff and I were as children.
Abbey at the airport with my mom going off to visit my brother and his family in Ireland, a long-awaited trip. She had a wonderful time and got her feet wet so to speak with some travel abroad experience,which she is hoping to do more of through school. Ireland is beautiful, she said again and again. And she enjoyed spending time with family and had so many cute funny stories about her Irish niece and nephew which just cracked us all up.
And then she came home and packed up and we dropped her off for her second year at college.
(photo thanks to Janey, the other ones we have no heads, this will have to do, Jeff was parking the car)
She is rooming with the same roommate as last year and they were at first disappointed at the dorm they were assigned-there are only a couple old dorms left on campus and both years they managed to get those both years. But they get to share two small rooms and although it’s not new I’d take that over one small squishy non-air-conditioned room like they had the year before, with shared bathrooms that smelled of vomit. They also have one tiny private bathroom. It IS old, and cell-like but heck it’s college, what can one expect. (This leads us old people to often discuss what it was like back when we went to school, which makes young people’s eyes roll I am sure.) They’ve already made it look so cute, in simple ways. It will be a fun full year for her with a full course of classes, mostly art classes which are 3 hour blocks so most of the day from 7-7 she is busy.
(She sent me this pic later.)
We went to a little restaurant after we moved things in and then dropped her off and headed back. I had a sick feeling leaving more so this year than last. First there are a lot of weird people around and I get nervous so I lectured her on the no walking alone thing again just to make me feel better, and then I felt like she is never coming back. I know she is stifled in our little town and wants to be let loose, I SO get it, I was that age once too. I want her to do what she wants that way, but her room looks so empty and I don’t know if it will ever be full again and that’s sad. It is the pull of independence and heck it’s supposed to happen. The first summer home after college is like that I know, I’ve had many chats with friends-the kids had the independence and then they come back and have the rules and the obligations and that’s good too-that reminder of family life etc. There is a period of adjustment and sometimes it’s not easy for them and for us but I think it’s natural and makes so much sense (when not in the moment of “why are you late?”:). I am so proud of this girl though, I am proud of how hard she works, I am proud that she recognizes that it is important even though it’s difficult to grow up in the culture she is growing up in.
Speaking of dorms,
Matt and visited University of Kentucky when we went on a little one-day road trip of college visits and heck the dorms! They have GRANITE counter tops in the bathrooms! UK just rebuilt most of their dorms I believe, and they look like large hotel rooms. We had fun, lots of driving, but ate some great hamburgers and then I had to stop for chocolate on the way back (I drove 9 hours in one day, my aching hips!) and needed the caffeine.
Isaac tolerating a picture on his way to his first interview. And he got the job. A real job! Today was his first day and he came home totally energized and happy and ALLELUIA ALLELUIA! That is what parents everywhere say when their college graduate gets a job I believe.
In other birthday news, Jeff turned 50! I gave him a small party and this is the cake I ordered. I saw it on Pinterest and it even said Happy 50th Jeff and so I just knew it was meant for us.
I wish I had more photos of it all but I only took a few, most of them are blurry because the lighting was terrible. It was fun to plan from invitations to dessert. Pinterest was a great help all the way around. 🙂 I made sliders and scalloped potatoes and two salads and then had the cake and a candy table (of Jeff’s favorites). It seems simple but heck I was exhausted after it all as I was pulling that off during back to school shopping and kids coming and going.
Little bits of summer:
Someone took this random snapshot and it is perfect, from Gatorade water bottle to Patrick talking to Janey twirling to Jeff and I trying to coordinate plans for something I am sure. That is summer.
Coming home from a run very early and seeing this early riser peeking out at me as I water the flowers.
Cookie making is popular here as always.
We had a family birthday party for Andrew and Janey.
Andrew chose an frozen oreo pudding cake.
Janey and I found these sunshine cupcakes earlier this summer and fell in love with them.
I love her looking at Patrick (she still calls him Bubby.)
Not crazy about being the center of attention while everyone sings.
Presents early in the morning.
And walking down memory lane:
At the preschool picnic for Matt, Andrew was just born.
Which leads me to the preschool picnic for Janey which I had to literally pinch myself to stop the tears from all the memories. So many babies! That was me once, and here I was with my last baby and I wasn’t burning hot, sweating, milk coming in, elastic pants on, like the days of yesteryear, which was nice, but not nice as all because it’s the end of the era and honestly, the best “era” of my life, as I really felt like there is nothing else I’d rather do. It’s all a blur though honestly, and I guess it’s good that I’m still so busy or I’d be wallowing in my sorrow for years.
This is the second crib I’ve seen in August in front of an old beautiful house for sale.
Mothers can’t get rid of their crib, too many memories.
Mine is in the attic and will stay there till I’m gone and I won’t know or care if someone sets it outside for the trash.
Do what you will with it then, but I can’t part while I’m here on earth.
It’s a symbol of the preciousness of motherhood.
We have a grocery store near our house, not the one I usually shop at, that has pint sized carts.
We have found this store has excellent bagels, Janey and I, and we go there about once or twice a week just to pick them up…and of course to use the little cart. The boys went with me once and I had to fill them in on the danger of a cart pushed by a three year old. It requires some quick movements, and excellent peripheral vision and awareness of space and time. If not, major Achilles pain, we all learn the hard way. I told them, think of the cart as a weapon, stay light on your feet, and you’ll be fine.
And finally, some four year old birthday pictures. It really is true that the last gets the least pictures, I thought it wouldn’t be, I started out pretty strong, but life takes over and I can’t record and live in the moment at the same time, or remember to charge my batteries.