Thursday, August 30, 2012

{p,h,f,r}: Summer's End Edition

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter today . . .

School's back in session, and I am starting to breathe a little easier these days.   Does that sound harsh?  Because it sounds harsh to me, as if I don't like to be around my children or something.

I have to admit that I have felt a little guilty about being happy to return to the school year schedule, mostly because it seemed like all of my friends were bemoaning the end of summer.  All over Facebook, my compadres were saying things like "the end of summer already?  nooooo!" and "I love hanging out with my kids so much and I don't want them to go anywhere EVER!"

I may be paraphrasing, but only slightly.

Meanwhile, I had the uniforms ready and the backpacks full of new supplies about three weeks before the first day.

I'll be honest with you, summer was a long, hard season around these parts.  I know a lot of it comes from the place we are in right now, with babies and kids stacked end to end all through the house.  Every room is occupied at all times and people get mightily sick of looking at each other's faces right around mid-July, or at least that's how it seemed this summer.

I would say that I spent about 95% of all my time solely caring for the children.  I realize that motherhood is a vocation and not just a job, but that kind of focus leads to burnout, even in those most dedicated to their vocations.  I know there are many women longing for children out there, and this may seem like nothing more than one long whine-fest (which it sort of is).  All I can say is that God tests everyone in different ways, and this summer was definitely a test for me.  A test in endurance, patience, fortitude, self-denial . . . and believe me, I am not good in any way, shape, or form with any of those virtues.

I probably should have planned better and gotten some help this summer.  Rob's schedule is about as flexible as any doctor's schedule -- meaning his days are planned out for months in advance.  There were stretches of days and days where we never left home base, mostly because I do not have enough hands to make the pool or the zoo a particularly safe or fun outing.  

Francie helped me as much as a 13 year old could possibly help before she starts to go berserk, but I probably should have looked harder to hire a babysitter/mother's helper this summer.  Part of me hates admitting that, but slowly going insane is really not a good way to spend three months.

(Although, as a completely different topic, what gives with babysitters now saying that they won't watch anyone under 1 year of age because "they are uncomfortable with babies."?!  Is it just my area or what, because I've never heard that before.  Besides, my babies are always the best behaved ones for the babysitter.  It's the hooligans in the middle you have to really watch.)

I can feel things lightening up even though we now have a more rigorous schedule in place.  Does that make any sense?

But never fear, we did have fun this summer and I am happy with that.  I realize that the babies won't be babies forever, and there will come a time when summer can be a little more spontaneous and free.  Until then, we just cram whatever good times we can into every little nook and cranny that comes along.

The weekend before school, we managed to coordinate everyone's schedule and we went to one of our favorite places, Knoebels Amusement Resort.  I've been going to this park since my childhood, and it is one of those perfect places that still up to my idealized childhood memories.  I really love it just as much now as I did then.

It has free admission, free parking, free picnic areas, baby aid/nursing/changing stations, camping, swimming, award winning food, and of course, rides.  There was something for everyone to ride, even Baby.  Plus, we got to celebrate Fiver's birthday a couple days early at the park.  As we walked back to the van in the dark, Fiver skipped ahead of me and said, "this was the best day ever."

High praise, and he was totally correct.

While looking for a goodbye card for a friend, Francie found this
little gem.  What made her laugh the most is that the
potential recipient of this card wouldn't even be old enough to read it.

{funny, pretty, real}
Sally joined her brother on the school's cross country team this year.
Her biggest concern?  Running fashion, of course.
This was the outfit she chose for her first practice.
(That is a "running pose" by the way, she's not busy punching people.
At least not in this picture.)

{funny, real}
This is Mopsy's Flashdance look.  She insists on doing her own hair every
morning and arguing with her at 6:30 in the AM is not a battle
worth fighting.  By 8:00 the headband has slipped down so far that
she looks like Rambo, but so what?  We never go anywhere anyway.

This is Fiver's favorite ride at Knoebels - the train.  It's a nice, slow trip all around the park
and through the woods.  Very relaxing and just his speed.

My girls on the antique, hand-carved carousel.  This thing is the real deal, people.
Complete with chances to grab for the brass ring.  So fun.

My Gal Sal - she always has a smile ready.

{pretty, happy}
My bookend girls (for now!)  Baby just loves Francie.
She is one of the few people Baby will go to when she is upset
or hurt.  

The Get-Along Gang at the shooting gallery.  The kids love watching Rob hit all the
targets to make the characters do their crazy routines.  Luckily for them, Rob is a terrific shot.
I think it's pretty funny how they lined themselves up in age order even though they all
ran pell mell to get there.

This is what happens at dinner when it's hot outside and your baby
is starving and she hasn't slept all day.

{pretty, happy}
And this is what happens directly after dinner, once your baby
is fed and cool.

Bun calls this the "Bag of Babies."  That's what you
find in your dad's office when your dad teaches Family Medicine residents how to
deliver babies.  You've got to start somewhere.

Her last year of grade school.  Next stop is high school. 

He got his favorite teacher in the universe for 4th grade.

Even with the uniform, Sally accessorizes with a cute plaid headband.


  1. If you're a Bad Mom because you look forward to summer ending, I'm a worse one. I do the same. I need the routine--even though all the extra running around makes me insane in a different way. I try deliberately to keep summer unstructured, because I think kids need that time to unwind and just run around with light sabers and nerf guns and basketballs...but whoa, it's a long time for this mom to be unstructured!

    I'm so glad Fiver got his very favorite teacher for school this year.

    And I just looooooooooove Mopsy's hairdo! Too funny!

  2. Fabulous running fashion.

    I'm so glad things are better for you. There is no shame in being grateful for school. I'm not even in your situation and I was happy to send the kids back to school. We all needed a break from each other.

    I haven't had a sitter ever tell me they are not comfortable with babies. We did get two when we had a needy little one in the house, but never had anyone refuse. Weird.

  3. Love that post! Love, love all the pics of those beautiful children. That Francie is just beautiful. And Sally is such a cutie. All of them are! And the baby with the quilt. Well, that made my day!

    You are not harsh at all. During the summer you are on for all your kids all day. A saint would be worn out. Now you are on but for three children. That's a big difference! I was so happy my teenager went back to school. He's a grumper!

  4. They are gorgeous and wonderful, each and every one . . . but that doesn't mean that you can live with all of them 24/7 all summer long and not go more than a little bit out of your mind. I'm thrilled for school to start, and I've only got two (who go to camp and such because I still work all summer!) I think that all moms love structure and schedule more than many of us would like to admit. You are not alone.

  5. LOVE all the pictures!

    And you are not a bad mom. You are a stretched mom. You do the best you can. No one could ask for more.

    I must be a bad mom. I got "We did nothing this summer because you were too pregnant and then the baby came". :O

    I tried. Both boys did baseball and swim team. They each went to 7 Indians games. Cub scout camp. Older Boy went to overnight camp. They stayed with Grandma and Grandpa. I did what I could.

    HUGS to you my friend.

  6. Great pictures! They capture all the energy :) Especially the sleeping baby one!

  7. I felt the same way this summer- in an I only have 2 kids kind of way ;). It was rater intense and I find I'm grabbing more free moments NOW that I have a much more rapid schedule and 2 more toddlers with us during the day. How can that be possible?! Glad to be here- somehow I've missed a few of your posts but am all caught up again. Oh that Mopsy by the sea picture is marvelous!!!!

  8. Love the pics- hope you are all settling into school mode!! Also hope you are feeling good :)


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