Monday, August 29, 2016

First day in the 8th, 6th, 3rd, and Kindergarten! (oh my)

School.  It has begun!  And I am still not sure I am ready, but here we go!
8th grade.  His tie has R2D2 on it.  He started last week, on a Wednesday.

He was up, and so ready to go!  My big boy is going to school!  These guys started on Monday.


I have another middle schooler in the house.  Emma is in 6th.  (whaaaa?)

And my ever casual, no big deal William is in 3rd.

Lucy knows the days will be different.  I think that is why she isn't the happiest in the pictures. 
God bless all the teachers, new and old friends, and keep them close to you, Jesus! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Our Own Backyard Fun

We live so close to so many great historical places.  But we don't often get there as I am not up for traveling to DC alone.

Enter my Superman husband.  I am so lucky to have him!

We hopped on the VRE (Virginia Railway Express that my husband takes to work every day) and rode into DC.  James was so excited to ride on the train!

This day was full of firsts for me and the kids.  First up was the Tidal Basin.  I had never walked all the way around and enjoyed the views, or see all the memorials that are there.

It's a beautiful walk, next to the water, with some lovely trees.  I was kind of irritated by the "warning: low growing branches" sign.  Like, really?  We have to have a warning for everything?  But as we walked, I saw that the beautiful cherry blossoms grow at an angle, over the water.  The view is just lovely!

I just might be convinced to come back when they are all in bloom!  Just maybe. 

Around the basin are 3 memorials (I think only 3).  First up is the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. My cell phone camera cannot come close to catching the size and awesomeness of this!  In the background, on walls on either side, are many of his famous quotes.

He was such a powerful speaker.  It was a very somber place, big enough to let the kids wander and expend energy, but it kept a reverent attitude. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is the next marker on that walk by the basin, another first for me!

My history is quite rusty, as I didn't realize he was president for so long.  His quotes are practical, and came from a time in history that was a different kind of struggle than MLK Jr.

It's quite a large memorial (with bathrooms at each end of it.  Perhaps it's because they have waterfalls all throughout it.  Rushing water is calming but does give you a certain urgency.) and the kids all loved the noise.  Lucy's exclamations of "WATER!" could almost be heard above the noise.

Our final memorial was Jefferson's. 

This view was from the other side of the Tidal Basin.  It's so lovely across the water.

Now, when we are here reading his words, I am always overcome by his eloquence. I love his quotes, and to see just the contrast of Jefferson to FDR, and many other presidents.  It did make me do a little pause about the upcoming election, and how much I am NOT a fan of either (nope, not getting political) but I have faith that God will always triumph. 

We had lunch on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, as that was the closest place with shade. 

 Our friends included us in a tour of the Bureau of Engraving (the place where the paper money is made).  We learned some pretty neat tidbits:
 * The $100 is the largest bill now made, but there used to be $100,000 bill!
* The ink goes on the back of the money first, and the green color is always first.  Hence the name "green backs."
 * Bills are made of Cotton and Linen. 
* The machines run all the time.  24 hours a day.
* Tommy is $300,000 taller than me.  :)

Next first: The Washington Monument!  All the way to the top!

I loved the beautiful walls and floor as we waited for the elevator.  I didn't expect such prettiness inside, as the monument never looks that special to me.  It's always there, and never seems fancy to me.

Such incredible views from the top of the building!!  The fact that we were over 500 feet in the air didn't bother me, until I looked at the big bolts in the structure, and saw the red lights that flash through the windows at the top.  There is a observation place with all the windows, then you go down a few steps and they have an exhibit about the monument.  It listed all the places that sent a stone to help build it, and when you went down the elevator, the lights inside went off, and they slowed it down so we could look out the windows of the elevator to see some of the plaques that were sent with the stones. 
I can't even imagine tackling this kind of a day on my own.  EVER.  5 kids in tow, super hot day, and no map.  No way.  My husband is the navigator, the planner (albeit spontaneously) and the doer.  This was a great reminder of why God has given me such a spouse! 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

William's Birthday

Well, I spoke too soon.  As soon as I was done with my pity party, my husband stepped in and took off half a week to be with us and planned some amazing outings. But first:

William turned 8!

He was my first child to ask for a home cooked meal specifically for his birthday.  With all the kids usually asking to go out to eat, (which we did for lunch at Red Robin so they would sing to him) it touched me very deeply to have him ask ME to cook!  Did he eat it?  No, but it was the thought that counts.  :)
We got our first pets in the house!  An ant farm!  It is fascinating to watch the ants dig and move the habitat/food around in the container.  (amazon prime rocks!)  There is even a little light to help us see them even better.
Happy Birthday, my Sweet William.  I think I will call you that forever. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Guilt Runs Strong With This One

Wow.  I totally missed July.  How did that happen?

It's hard for me to blog in the summer.  Not because we are super busy. On the contrary.  We don't take any trips, haven't really done anything exciting at all, and sometimes I struggle in that department. My anxiety and "comparing" gets the better of me in the summer. 

                                          Free chicken, and the crazy kids to go along for the ride.

I have a hard time in the summer, as I don't want to spend my time driving kids back and forth for a camp or something every week, and we don't really have the money to do a huge trip.  Facebook and blogs are sometimes hard as it seems like everyone goes to the beach. We don't belong to a pool, we don't have any beach trips planned, and we just aren't super exciting.  Well, I am not exciting.  And I struggle sharing that with the internet world.  I married a man who is spontaneous and wants to get out and enjoy the time with his family.  He tries to plan things and it is a constant struggle to not be the voice that says "no" all the time, especially in front of the kids.  It's my own anxiety, and my own hang up, and the worry of the logistics of how we manage things. 

                                                   (A photo from the 4th!  Flag shirt and all)

But if I dwell on the things we "don't" do, I will get more depressed, so I try to think about what he HAVE done.  We have a house full of fun, and family nearby.  We have all had some kind of camp: VBS (all but Tommy), Cub Scout camp (Tommy and William), singing camp (Emma), basketball camp (William), and Boy Scout Camp (Tommy and Patrick).  My sister has been generous with her pool guest passes and we do have 5 kids, so it's not like it's quiet in the house.  William and James have been inseparable and have been spending hours together in the corners of the house. Lucy has gotten into everything she shouldn't, as well as climbing, talking, dancing, and just getting cuter than ever.  Emma and Patrick have been reading and enjoying Netflix (oh, I have enjoyed it too.  Too much), and I love that they have played every kind of board game and even some old fun, like fashion plates.  And the library has seen plenty of us.

                                                 (Week long camp for these guys.  Not the little one.)

I realize that this post sounds sour, self-pitying and dreadful.  It isn't all bad right now.  It's just a combination.  I have lots of guilt that we aren't fancy, but I do know that this is the life God has given us.  The kids are very well-behaved (as the lady at the dentist so sweetly told me today) and I don't meant to sound doom and gloom.  I give myself a hard time.  

                                                    (They had a great weekend!)
                                                    (VBS week, where we only made it for some of the week)

We have 3 weeks until school starts for Patrick, and even though I am panicking at that thought, we have time to do some things together, and I know my wonderful husband will be able to take some time to have family fun. So when you put it down on paper, is looks much busier than it is. 

In the meantime, it's time to pull on my big girl pants and get ready for school, when there will be 4 (!) children at school.  Whoa.  Prayers for our family!