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.
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.
My bookend girls (for now!) Baby just loves Francie.
She is one of the few people Baby will go to when she is upset
This is what happens at dinner when it's hot outside and your baby
is starving and she hasn't slept all day.
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.