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It is hard to believe that it has been as long as it has since my keys have clacked on this blog. There has been so much going on that time has flown by. Next week will be the final week of my photography class. We are working on our final projects and I will see if it is somehow possible to post at least a portion of it here.
Thanksgiving break marked the first time that TJ has been home for more than 12 hours since he left for college in August. Words cannot express how full my heart was to have all the boys laughing and just hanging here under one roof. For anyone frustrated by their teenagers it is so weird when even one of them leaves. So many years with the brother interplay…the dinner table spots…so very, very weird.
No matter how much our kids can tick us off on occasion, I know of no mother (or father) who doesn’t feel their pain when they are ill or hurt. The parent reflex kicks in almost immediately when something happens to your babies. When that happens, the reality of this:
Immediately reverts to this in your mind:
and you have an uncontrollable desire to make them safe and protect them. For that split second, you no longer see the almost fully grown man before you, instead you see that little child and you want to make it better and hold him safe.
Today, one of the boys passed clean away in front of me at a doctor’s appointment. Luckily he was seated at the time. But still, not what either of us expected to happen. He was back a couple minutes later and all is fine, but still for those couple minutes, my heart only saw the little boy. I guess that the big boys will always be the little boys in my heart.
Tonight is prom. I can easily remember that same night in my own high school life.
Hard to believe that I have one child old enough to go to prom, not to mention two. It’s amazing that time flies so quickly. Seems like only yesterday TJ and Tyler looked like this at Tyler’s kindergarten graduation:
and tonight they looked like this:
TJ and his girlfriend Maddie.
Tyler and his friend Anna.
Amazing to watch those little boys evolve into the young men that they are today. Hard to believe that high school is going by so quickly.
Yesterday was a day. Hopefully today will be a better one. One kid has what appears to be a bad infection in both his big toes, when I went to wake the boys yesterday I noticed his toe. Boys being boys, it didn’t hurt, so no big deal. No big deal, almost started my day off
with a heart attack. We’re off to the podiatrist today for that. Then seems that a flashlight vibrated off the top of the dryer and hit the hot water lever on the utility sink in the laundry room. Good thing we work from home, since after about an hour there was a huge flood in the laundry room, I don’t even want to think what it might have looked like after a whole day of running water. We’re still drying it out and all the damp weather we’ve been having certainly doesn’t help.
The dog, had to get in on the act and for some completely unknown reason decided it was
a good idea to completely dig up the tomato plants that I had so carefully planted the day before.
I think that she is being possessed by the spirit of the White Dog. Seriously. What else could have gotten into her?
In the last two weeks, we’ve celebrated two of our boys’ birthdays. The oldest two have birthdays that are ten days apart. They are less than a year apart in age. They are however very different. The oldest is clearly … well, the oldest. He can be bossy with his siblings, he is used to getting what he wants and he has also matured a great deal. He no longer grumbles and complains when he is asked to do things, he just does them – a sign of maturity and a welcome respite from answering and arguing about why something needs to be done. He is very outgoing and clearly shines when he is in a social situation.
Our second son, who is a middle child, is fiercely independent and very comfortable entertaining himself. He doesn’t need a large group to feel at home, although he doesn’t shy away from groups of friends. He’s empathetic and introverted. He wants to be a pediatrician or a dentist – clearly choices that fit his personality and I think he will do well caring for others. While he doesn’t say much – he is a man of few words – he is ever watchful and very protective…especially of his younger brother. He is always aware of what is going on around him, although sometimes you wouldn’t know it. We often joke that he knows where everything is…especially when his older brother can’t seem to find something.
So interesting to see how two children with the same genetics, born so close together and raised almost simultaneously have such different personalities, outlooks on their world and perceptions.
When the boys were little, we often celebrated their birthdays together. Here they are in the “king” chairs at their joint birthday party.
Here’s pictures from this year’s birthdays….amazing how they’ve grown. Boy, time sure does fly….
Here is the view from my new office window. I’m adjusting to my new space and hope to get it a little more organized this weekend. But you can’t beat the view, especially on a beautiful snowy day like today.
Midterms are over. The week that the kids were dreading, some more than others, has passed without incident. Everyone is happy and relieved. Including me. This week I refreshed my knowledge of Spanish, increased my knowledge base of earth sciences, sharpened map skills and learned not to mix up the index flash cards while multitasking between working and helping kids study. Everyone survived. Everyone is happy that exams are over. Especially me. Long weekend for the boys then back to our regularly scheduled chaos.
We are forecast to get some of the coldest weather that Vermont has seen in two years. Sunday night we’re forecast for -24 below (actual temperature) sounds like a good excuse to cuddle up by the fire and finish reading my book club book.
Den destruction – uh I mean renovation – is underway. The room is emptied of all items of furniture, lamps, dust bunnies and a good part of Jinx (at least in fur). I am happy to report that there are many single socks in my house that are at this moment happily being reunited with their mates – tearful reunions all around.
In the meantime, the boys were given the opportunity to do some destruction and here are the action shots. Tom kindly removed the sledgehammer from the boys’ hands before they were able to damage each other or anything that we might not be replacing.
The boys each have a friend (or friends) over this afternoon/evening. Tim has a friend over solely for pleasure. TJ has two friends over for a biology project brainstorming and then fun. Tyler has two friends over and they are the ones doing the most of the work – a big social studies project. The extra boys make a total of 8 men in the house – I am feeling very outnumbered. Boys eat—a lot. A crockpot full of chili and three homemade loaves of bread are pretty much wiped out totally and I fear it won’t be long before they start moving in on dessert.
I must admit though, that it is nice – the boys all have nice friends and having their friends over is always good. Usually a lot of laughing going on…. and tonight work too.
We are heading out this weekend to see The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. No, I am not being opinionated or egotistical, that’s the name of the play put on by the Rutland Youth Theater. Several of Tim’s friends from school are in it, he is not. That’s a long story but basically it’s due to the difference between boys and girls at this age of 12. Girls are aware of their surroundings and other people and notice big huge posters hanging up all around the school announcing auditions for said play. Boys, on the other hand, well they are not so aware, unless it’s got guns or dragons or a video game controller attached to it which evidently the posters for auditions did not have. Therefore, the girls are in the play and Tim is not. In any event, I am sure that we will have a great time, since the Paramount Theater is a great old theater and a fun place to spend a snowy evening. Plus we get dinner out, a nice treat.
At no time does it become more apparent that I live in a man’s world, than on vacation. At home, I am able to find some small refuge in the womanly (few that they are) aspects of my home. Here, in a camper with 5 boys and a husband (so, technically 6 boys) 34 feet seems mighty absent girl things. The bathroom is replete with about every kind of Axe shampoo, deodorant, shower gel and body spray that exists. Boy stuff is everywhere in the form of ipods, gameboys (yes, they seem to make a resurgence at 13 and 14) and music that makes my ears bleed and which I didn’t enjoy the first time around when I was their age. Yet, there is no screaming or screeching (both of which seem to be everywhere with girls around) and they are relatively low maintenance although I must admit feeding teenage boys is an art form in and of itself. You have to learn to quickly remove your hands, fingers and any other extremities that you might need or later want, in the face of food, particularly if its main ingredients are either fat or sugar.
And yet, as I sit here, I honestly cannot think of having it any other way. Yes, it is frustrating because no one wants to browse the little shops or do other things that another girl around might think was fun. But, I guess that leaves more time for me to spend alone, enjoying my solitude.
When the boys got home from canoeing, I promised them that I would take their disposable cameras and develop the pictures. I had also found 3 cameras in boxes of stuff we had moved from NJ and thought that I would take them as well, since this is so not what I would normally do, having a digital camera and all, and they would probably sit in a drawer or box for another who-knows-how-long time until I discovered them again. So…with some anticipation as to what was on these “mystery” cameras we picked up our photo envelopes from Walgreens and headed home.
The boys were happy with their pictures and glad to tell me all about their adventures. I will post some of their pictures and they are, I must admit, beautiful and the scenery in person, must have been breath-taking. I wish that I was there, except of course for the bug part – since the boys confirmed that the mosquito is indeed the state bird of Maine. I, as those who know me well know, am the ultimate mosquito food. Hence, they would have had to remove my shriveled body from the Maine woods, as after 6 days there would have been nothing left of me. Yet, I digress – back to the mystery rolls of film.
These are my older two boys, TJ and Tyler, photo obviously courtesy of their brother, Tim taken in Florida in Disneyworld in 2000. I was pleasantly surprised to find these since all of the digital photos of that trip are floating around in the black hole of the dead hard drive since the photos were all meticulously uploaded each night by my husband from our hotel room to our computer in NJ so we wouldn’t lose them, which hard drive of course crashed within hours of us getting home and before they could be burned to disc or copied or printed or anything. So…..I am left with the photographic genuis of a 3 year old to commemorate that trip. That and one of those “we’ll take your picture for you before you eat dinner in our restaurant” photos taken by Disney.
The remaining pictures on the rolls, are mostly worthless, since they are taken by 3,4 and 5 year olds whose photographic capabilities rested with whatever happened to be moving at the moment. There are nice pictures of backs of heads, lots of people we don’t know (but who I am sure would have enjoyed the pictures) and the ground. So much for leaving photography to the children. But, the surprise was pleasant and the one or two pictures that were worthwhile like the one above, brought a smile to my face.
In honor of the scheduled shuttle launch this evening, countdown to the canoe trip for the boys. This means that this week will be full of “Mom, where’s my….?” “Mom, I can’t find……” or my very favorite…. “I looked everywhere and it’s gone” (Translation – I am far too lazy to look anywhere, although I did pretend to walk from room to room, claiming that I looked for it, but I swear I honestly never moved or touched ANYTHING).
The boys are headed out, for those that don’t know, to a 6 day 50 mile canoe trip to the northern woods of Maine. 7 1/2 hours worth of driving from our corner of Vermont. They are being led by two fearless adult leaders (who are also evidently blessed with “the patience of a saint” as my grandmother would have said) and the mascot dog. Their journey will be over the river and through the woods and the lake and the reservoir and will undoubtedly be the trip of a lifetime for them. They are all (5 boys in all) going for their 50 mile merit badge for scouts.
My merit badge for this trip will come from not killing (or seriously maiming) any child of mine (3 total) that cannot locate the required stuff that I know that they own, but they somehow swear has been eaten by the house prior to departing. So, I will keep you posted. Everyone was armed today with a printout of their list of required “stuff” that they have to bring. They have been warned that they need it ready by Wednesday for a “shakedown” at their last meeting before the trip. I am sure that despite the fact that they have 2 days to do this, we will all be running around like lunatics, screaming and yelling, by Wednesday afternoon and I also swear that stuff will come out of that pack before Saturday morning – requiring more yelling and screaming and tears (did I mention that all of that will be from me?)