Having a quiet moment

The pond needed a bit of a fill, so why not sit a while and enjoy the peace and quiet?

The baby was/is napping, the two little boys are playing a video game together (loudly) and the teenager is in his room…doing who knows what. I don’t mind admitting that I need a break from the chaos of my middle children now and then. I swear at this moment I can hear the fighting through closed doors and windows. The waterfalls help, but the boys are CRAZY!

A few more sips of my coffee should be enough to prepare me to get back in there. 😉

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Happy Birthday

My baby girl is 1!

Her birthday was a couple of days ago. We decided to take a little family vacation this weekend to celebrate.

We went to the New York State Fair. We got up as early as we could manage with 4 kids…we shot for a 4am departure, but we managed 5. The traffic was minimal at that hour, even on a holiday weekend. We made a couple of stops along the way, but made good time.

The traffic around the fairgrounds was insane! We didn’t realize we were going to be part of a record breaking crowd. By the way, my husband and I hate crowds. The video we watched before deciding to go showed minimal crowding of the spacious fairgrounds.

We did get to see something we hadn’t seen before…a newborn dairy cow. We didn’t see it delivered, but it was pretty fresh, with its umbilical cord still hanging. There was a huge list of the births at the fair. It was surprising to us how big they are. Most were around 110 pounds! I skimmed the list, and I believe 82 pounds was the smallest I saw.

The 3 little ones slept through a lot of the fair. My oldest, and husband got on one of the rides a couple of times, and before we left the little boys woke up to take a ride on a kiddie train.

Overall it was a pretty decent day. We had high hopes of it being different than the fairs we have been to in the past. In some ways it was, the amount of alcohol being sold was ridiculous and they had many more games/rides than our local fairs. Otherwise it was just like any other fair we’ve been to, pretty underwhelming. We did see these birds, that reminded me of cotton candy.

The next day we went to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. That was much more our speed. It wasn’t too crowded, and we LOVE animals. There were a few rain drops, but otherwise it was a very comfortable day. The day before at the fair was warmer and sunnier than we had expected. I got a pretty severe sunburn on my face/chest/arms and neck, my hubby had one on his head/neck and face and the 14 year old got it on his neck and cheeks. Thankfully we brought canopied strollers that protected the 3 little ones quite well. So, a cooler and cloudy day was welcomed.

We all agreed the zoo was the best part of our trip. We (by we I mean my husband) drove home straight from the zoo. It was a very long day, and our bed felt so good after 4 of us sharing a double bed the night before. My 2 year old really likes snuggling, and the baby wouldn’t settle in her pack n’ play. I hardly got a wink of sleep. Hubby didn’t get much more since he had to snuggle the 2 year old when I had to hold the baby.

Tomorrow is back to normal. My teenager goes back to highschool, we have my daughter’s 1 year physical and then I’m back to work on Wednesday. I hate how fast vacation goes.

Tomorrow is a pretty big day for our family

Tomorrow my oldest child starts highschool! I can’t believe this day is already here.

Today we took my 14 year old son to get his haircut, before starting the next chapter in his life. He looked so grown up with his hair styled. I just couldn’t get over the change a simple thing like a haircut made.

I hope he has a great year, and that each year only gets better. I want to support him without being too involved. My husband and I honestly just want him to be happy, and we’ve expressed this to him. We want him to worry less about what other people think, and just do what makes him happy. I hope he finds more people who share his interests, and that it leads to him being more social. Two towns merge at the highschool level where we live, so he will be meeting a lot more students in his own grade and the upperclassmen too. (The first day it will just be the freshmen though.)

I promised to make him a pancake breakfast for his first day of highschool, so as long as I wake up with my alarm that’s the plan. He thinks it’s a little weird that I want to do that for him, but he said he won’t refuse pancakes.

I will probably be a nervous wreck until he gets home and tells us how it went. Then the next day will probably be even worse since he’ll be there with the whole student body.

A week of anniversaries

Today would have been my mom’s 62nd birthday. Unfortunately she’s been gone 23 years already. She died at 38 years old, when I was 17. She has missed so much, and so have I. She wasn’t there when I got married, which will be 21 years ago on 8/8. She wasn’t there when I lost my first baby, or when I brought my first one home. It was difficult for me as I got closer to the age of my mom when she passed. I always feared cancer would take me young too. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and I even had my daughter when I was a year older than my mom.

My mom’s highschool photo.

My mom less than a year before she passed.

Then, what would have been my father’s 63rd birthday arrives on 8/10. He has been gone 7 years already. He was 55. He was there for my wedding, for my first loss and to meet my first son but depression kept him from really being present in our lives. For several years I didn’t know where he was, or even if he was alive.

My dad and I on my wedding day.

I still worry about how young I might be when I die, even though I don’t have the same issues my parents had. I worry about Ben too, since both of his parents died young too. I want us both to be around to see our children and possibly grandchildren grow up. I’d like to have at least 21 more years with Ben too. That’s not asking for too much really… we’d only be 61 and 62. It still seems almost impossible in my mind though.

Ben and I on our wedding day.

When our first was about 1 week old.

2005

Our 2nd son. 2014

Our 3rd son. 2016

Our daughter. 2018

My father in law will be gone 20 years on 8/13. It’s just crazy how time flies. He was there for our wedding, but has missed out on so much too. Ben’s mom passed after our first son was born, but she didn’t get to spend much time with him. We had tension between us, and only got back on speaking terms a couple of months before she died.

Ben with his parents before our wedding. 8/8/98.

We’ve recently reconnected with other family members. We may not be super close, but I appreciate feeling like I know a little more about what’s going on in their lives, and sharing ours.

Just checking in

Sorry I don’t write often. I’m just a busy mom, never having much content to write about.

The kiddos are all doing well. The little ones love each other so much.

We haven’t been doing much this summer. We took a walk down to the lake last weekend, and had the whole place to ourselves.

After that trip hubby decided to get his fishing license and we took the kids fishing. Jacob (2) caught the first one. He was so excited. I didn’t get any pictures, but we all had a good time. We’ll have to do it again, since the license was so expensive… gotta get our money’s worth. We catch and release, so there’s only the entertainment value.

Not much else to report. It’s going to be around 100 degrees the next couple of days, and humid. I don’t plan on getting outside much.

Nobody would, or could help

My father had an alcohol problem. He also had a drug problem, but it was the alcohol that killed him.

Near the end of his life, my father was hospitalized several times for blacking out, and hallucinating. One time he even called the police telling them I was dead, wrapped in a blanket in his bedroom. He told them he knew I was dead, because I wasn’t breathing. Of course I wasn’t dead, I wasn’t even there. He was the only one in his room that night. He also had visions of a man, that I think he feared. He kept a block of knives at his bedroom door.

He was living in a shelter at the time. I was concerned that he might open the door and kill whoever was knocking because of his hallucinations. The young woman who was his counselor at the time didn’t seem concerned at all. She didn’t see a violent side to him. Thankfully he never did use those knives on anyone.

During his hospitalizations I would tell those “taking care of him” that he was suicidal. Most people were only interested in getting him stabilized and out the door. Nobody would listen to me. They didn’t see him as a threat to himself or others. He lost months of his memories during one of his blackouts. He also received written documentation of the damage being done to his brain.

My father kept that document on his refrigerator. Some thought it was to remind him of what his drinking had done, so that he could try to give it up and get better. I knew why it was really there….as evidence that what he was doing was working!

My father would get sober for a little while here and there, but it was never because he wanted to. He would go through the programs after a DUI, to avoid harsher penalties. He’d try not to lose his place in the shelter, but even that risk wasn’t enough to get him to quit.

I tried to tell him he had something to live for. I was trying to spend more time with him. I only had my oldest child at the time, and wanted my dad to see that he needed his grandfather. My dad was the last living grandparent he had. My son was only 7 at the time. Nothing I said could change his mind. He was determined to die.

He died alone in his apartment, which he had for only a couple of months. It was obvious what had happened. There were hundreds of beer cans. I think he knew he was close to completing his task, because he had recently had a lobster dinner. One last treat, or possibly his last meal. It was father’s day weekend after all.

I feel a bit guilty for not calling him on father’s day. I knew he’d be drunk, and I wanted to celebrate with my husband and our son without the drama of my dad.

When I eventually called, he didn’t answer. That wasn’t uncommon, but he wasn’t answering calls from anyone for days. My brother found him. I got there soon after. There was nothing anyone could do, he accomplished his goal.

I apologize for this ramble. There is a lot more to the story, but I basically wanted to share that those I thought could help my father weren’t willing to try… maybe because they knew what I didn’t at the time. It wasn’t going to change his mind.

He’s fourteen!

My first born is 14 today. How does time go so fast?!

He was an only child for 9 of his 14 years, but now he has 3 siblings who have invaded his space. He has handled the invasion well, and is a good big brother.

We brought him, a friend and his siblings to an amusement park yesterday to celebrate. He was patient while his little brothers rode the rides in kiddie land, and watched his baby sister a couple of times too. We did give the two teenagers some time to explore the park alone, since we had two strollers to push and a four year old walking at a slower pace.

The day went smoothly. The worst part was my teenager getting soaked on the water rides making him uncomfortable for the rest of the day. I brought spare clothes for the 3 little ones, but nothing for him. I did think to bring a hand towel in case someone needed to dry off a little, but I wasn’t expecting him to get soaked head to toe.

The highlight of my day was actually being able to get on the rides. I’ve been pregnant the last few times we’ve gone and had to sit the rides out. I hated paying admission, but not taking advantage of the rides. Our first ride of the day was one I never thought I would try. It is called Untamed. It’s a rollercoaster that takes you straight up in the air then on the way down you drop at a 97 degree angle. I actually felt the twists of the ride were “worse” than going up and down. I loved the ride, and got on a few times during the day. The other rollercoaster I used to enjoy seemed boring after riding Untamed.

I think it was a pretty successful day. The teens had moments of not seeing eye to eye on what to do next, but overall I think everyone had fun. We finished with cake and ice cream at our house. I forgot to put out sprinkles for the ice cream, but the flavors were fine without them. 🙂 We gave my son a new video game, which he has been testing out this morning. Unfortunately his siblings have made it too difficult to play in our living room, so he’s off on his own in his bedroom. He has been spending a lot of time in there lately. His siblings are always climbing on him, or being loud.