Posted in Kids, Me, Vacation

We Made It

Whew! The hardest academic year–by far!–is finally finished. Bennett and Laura are now seniors (Ahhh!), Ethan is a junior and Catie is a sophomore. While the greater part of me is sad, there’s a tiny part that wonders just what this upcoming year will bring. What will I be typing here next June (through a heavy veil of tears, I’m sure!). What they will experience and feel as they come to the end of high school. I’ll let you know in 12 months–we’ll meet back here, ok? 🙂

In the meantime, we have a small breather of a few weeks for them. Physical therapy for my back continues–some days very well and some days (like today) slowly and painfully. We meet with our lawyer on Monday to start our wills and special needs trust. Trying to made decisions with 60+ years in the future for Ethan is somewhat daunting. I hope and pray that we are able to fund that trust and that it is enough. A few dentist appointments, med checks with the psychiatrist, and bloodwork and endocrinologist–well, there goes June.

Ethan leaves on June 30th for his summer camp, comes back on the 7th and then leaves on the 8th for his 4-week-long summer program for the visually impaired. Then Laura leaves on the 14th for Penn State for her 3-week-long summer program for the visually impaired. They both come back on the 3rd of August and then we leave on the 9th for Michigan. Wheee! There goes the summer!

I’ll do my best to post–I’m not that great over the summer, but I’ll try. I know, I know, “Do or do not, there is no try.” But still, I will.



Posted in Addiction, Vacation

Apparently We’re Homebodies

The family all took a trip to the Lewes/Rehoboth DE area this week. The vacation was supposed to be from Saturday June 28 through today, July 5. Actually, we would have been leaving RIGHT THIS SECOND if one big thing hadn’t happened.

Hurricane Arthur.

When my brother (who was also in Rehoboth) first mentioned the hurricane, my response was “What hurricane?” Hah. Double hah. By the time it hit two nights ago it was a category 2! We spent a great deal of Thursday cleaning the house and packing everything up. Once finished (or almost), we headed to the boardwalk, did some rides, had dinner and ice cream and then headed back to pack the car and finish cleaning the kitchen. We left for Pennsylvania around 8:30, although we took a quick side trip to the Candy Kitchen, the home of expensive but tasty fudge, salt water taffy and assorted very large lollipops. We pulled into our driveway at 11:08, much to everyone’s relief. There is nothing quite like sleeping in one’s own bed in one’s own house. And we got out just in time. When I spoke with my brother the next morning, it was raining an insane amount (and who wants to be cooped up in a house on vacation in the rain?)

The weird thing was, once we knew about the rain and that we’d be coming home early, both Jim and I were happy about it. I love planning vacations. I love going on them. But EVERY TIME I go away, I miss my home and can’t wait to get back.  While our current plan for next year is Michigan, a part of me wonders if a “stay-cation” might not be a better choice. No worrying about the dogs or cat, no massive driving (Michigan is 17+ hours driving and a ferry ride, plus hotel stays each way). We obviously have a year to think about it, though!

Following up on my last post, I contacted my accountability partner the very next day. I installed accountability software on my phone the very next day. I deleted all those books the very next day. I still say being a sex addict SUCKS EGGS and always will, but it’s a lifelong journey that I’m on. I may take a short detour every once in awhile, but so far I’ve always found my way back to the main road.

Posted in Jim, Marriage, Vacation

Lemons into Lemonade

I have lived nearly 45 years within easy driving distance of the Philadelphia historical section and have never seen it. That was my driving force in planning my 18th anniversary weekend this year. I had it all planned out–seeing Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Seeing the Liberty Bell. Visiting all sorts of historical sights and learning more about them.

Perhaps you’ve heard, though, of our government shutting down, including the national parks, of which many of the historic sites in Philadelphia are a part? Yes, I thought you had.

My plans were in place until early this past week and then BOING! I turned away from them and made new ones. Friday night we drove to South Street. We stayed at the corner of 4th and South, which I would never, EVER do again. IT WAS SO LOUD!!! We’re from the suburbs where there are noise ordinances and if someone breaks it we get to call the cops. And sleep. Philly? Notsomuch.

Saturday morning, after a late rising, we had breakfast at Milk and Honey . YUMMY! We walked up to the historical section of Philadelphia and walked past many things that were closed and some that were open. We chatted with a security guard who told us about the slave quarters that were outlined because he worked where he worked and overheard the speech so often he knew it to share. We spoke with a hammered dulcimer musician, in colonial costume, who was handing out maps with places that were still open circled. Jim bought one of his Christmas CD’s. We went to The Constitutional Center. Learned a lot and had a great time in the air conditioning. For it being early October, Philadelphia was actually quite hot.

We walked to Elfreth’s Alley, which is the oldest continuously-lived-in neighborhood in our country. And this is where it gets cool. There was a truck in the middle of the alley and a carpenter was coming out of #116. He left the door open and I peeked in. I motioned for Jim to peek too. He did. The carpenter saw us and asked “would you want to come inside and see?” HECK YEAH!! So he showed us around. #116 is actually two houses, back to back, that were built by two brothers. The current owner has had it gutted and completely joined together. The interior wall between the houses is gone and there is now only a fireplace in the middle facing each side to show where the wall was. We saw where the slaves would have lived. We saw the upstairs–going both up and down spiral staircases. Swoon!

After our impromptu tour, we did the official tour a few doors down. Nice, but not nearly as neat.

Taxi time!

The Franklin Institute was next and, in my humble opinion, WAYYYY overpriced. We wanted to see the Spy Exhibit, so paid an extra fee. The exhibit was interesting and informative, but not worth the amount we paid. The institute itself was a lot more for kids than I remembered. We grabbed a pretzel to tie us until dinner, having skipped lunch.

Taxi time!

Our dinner was at the Marrakesh Restaurant. Oh Em Gee. The food was AMAZING. 7 course dinner. Great atmosphere. Pretty decent service. Fun interaction with other people eating there. I could devote a whole post to the food. Suffice it to say, if you ever get a chance to eat there, DO IT. But don’t eat lunch. And wear stretchy pants. And pace yourself, because whoa, when Jim and I left we felt sincerely overstufffed and in some discomfort. And we brought our fruit and pastries (courses 6 and 7) home!

I just want to throw out a hello (and a punch) to the guy next door who decided that he had to follow his drumming muse at 10:30 and 11:30 PM.

Today we just had breakfast out at Sam’s Morning Glory Diner. The biscuits were MAMMOTH and I again brought food home (Bacon!) instead of feeling uncomfortable. We left the city a little after noon.

All in all, one of our best anniversaries. We spent some serious time just being a couple, instead of Mom and Dad. We got to do a little part of Philly, eat some amazing food and experience some new things (parking his truck in a tiny parking garage was sure interesting!) together. And it never, not for one moment, felt like we were “settling”. We’ll just go visit the historical sites another time.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Kids, Marriage, Me, School, Sick, Vacation

7 Quick Takes Friday


1. You know how you know something is coming up and you know you need to plan it and at some point you’ll get around to it and then life happens and you keep putting it off until it’s only a week away and then you freak out and do massive research on the internet and email your husband a bunch of ideas all at once (which of course he can’t look at because he’s at work) and then you freak out some more because you used to be such a great planner and life is just changing around you and you can’t plan anymore and …

Yes. This was me yesterday about our anniversary getaway next week.

2. I happily stumbled onto this website about tours  and relaxed. They do guided ones (for a pretty decent fee), self-guided free ones and then ones where you download an audio guide onto your iPod and use it to walk around. Door #3 sounds like a winner to me! The audio guide is something like $15 (much cheaper than the guided tour) and will let you go at your own pace (and sneak in a side trip to Elfreth’s Alley which is right near Betsy Ross’s house). For those of you who have never heard of Elfreth’s Alley, It is the oldest residential street in America. Dating back to 1702, it has been continuously lived in for more than 300 years now.

3. Finishing up our 4th week of cyber school and fine arts school. Monday morning the gal that I share carpooling with (she does mornings and I do afternoons) called and said that just as she got to the parking lot of the fine arts school Laura threw up. She took her in and cleaned her up as best as she could and then brought her back home (L threw up 3 more times on the way home). 1) Thank goodness she had leather seats! 2) What a nice woman! Having your own kid throw up and dealing with it is just not pleasant. With someone else’s kid (and I’ve dealt with that personally!) is just grosser. Laura’s fine and we’re left wondering what in the world THAT was?

4. Are your kids into Minecraft? Holy cow, do Bennett and Laura love it! We got it for their birthday and they have spent any and every allowable moment on their computers playing it. I love hearing their conversations–they regularly use the word “smelt” in conversation, and I heard obsidian the other day. If nothing else, it’s teaching some excellent vocabulary! 🙂

5. I’m halfway through the Great Wardrobe Changeover. Except for winter boots, Laura and Catie have all the clothes they will need for the winter, and they are all put away in their drawers. Today I’m hoping to finish the boys’ clothes. Ethan still doesn’t care what he wears as long as it fits comfortably, but the other three have all developed tastes in clothing. Laura, especially, has changed dramatically in the last 6-8 months. Her taste…grew up, for lack of a better phrase. I bought several shirts for her that she pooh-poohed and when we went to Goodwill (because, COME ON, they have all the popular teen clothes there and for $3!) she picked several that I would never have guessed she would have liked. So no more shopping for Laura–she has to come with me.

6. I was reading another blogger talk about her “new normal”. I think we’re at that place as well. Huh. When they were really young, I often used that term with regards to medical issues. (e.g.: Ethan has a g-tube. Dealing with that was our new normal). Nowadays we are in a much better place, albeit busy. Last September I would have stumbled out of bed at 5:30 to get Bennett and Laura up, followed by Ethan at 6:15, followed by Catie at 7. All would be gone by 8:35, and start coming home at 2:35. Finances didn’t allow for extra-curricular stuff, except for band and chorus which were provided through the school. So my driving was mostly pleasure-oriented, with the occasional band practice or concert.

This year, wow. Our “New Normal”:

Monday: Me up at 6, Wake Laura as soon as I can.  Ethan’s bus comes at 7:30 on Mondays (team mtg at school), so he gets up at 6:45. Wake Catie and Bennett at 7 after Laura leaves. Ethan leaves at 7:30 and Catie out the door at 8:35. Bennett starts schoolwork whenever he wants as long as it’s before 8. Make him have breakfast around 9-9:30. Leave the house at 2 to pick up Laura at school. Something really easy for dinner because Catie has horseback riding lessons and we leave at 6:15.

Tuesday: Ethan up at 6:15, everyone else at 7. Nice, easy day.  At night , make sure Laura has clothes picked out and lunch made for next day.

Wednesday: Ethan and Laura both up by 6:15 to both be out the door at 7. Catie and Bennett up. Catie drum lessons at school so I will need to both drive her and pick her up, which will be challenging. Leave at 2 to get Laura. Drop carpool gal off at home. Drop Laura off if i have time, otherwise drive to Catie’s school and pick her up.

Thursday: Repeat Tuesday morning. I have bible study that night, so easy dinner that Jim can make or I can make really quickly and Jim can grab if he’s getting home late. 1x/month Laura has PT during the day.

Friday: Repeat Tuesday morning getting ready. 2x/month Laura has Orientation and Mobility lessons mid-morning. 1pm every week Bennett has guitar lessons.

Friday night: THANK YOU, GOD! We made it through another week!

I do want to say that I’m not complaining. I know we have it easy compared to you sporty parents. We are not a sporty family (for which I’m somewhat grateful!), so the whole lifestyle of living in your car and spending all Saturday at endless soccer tournaments or swim meets is completely foreign to me. All I’m saying is, this sure is different than the past few years!

7. I have had the blessing of eating lunch with my three closest girlfriends all within the past month. And this after seeing none of them all summer. Catching up, eating yummy food, just talking and sharing and laughing and crying has been WONDERFUL. (Even if I did forget Laura’s orthodontist appointment during one of them! Oops!)

Happy Fall Y’all!

Posted in Kids, Vacation

Almost Two Weeks Into Summer

So, wow. As of tomorrow the kids have been on vacation–and sleeping in–for two weeks. It’s been lazy and lovely, weathery and wild, and not-so-surprisingly, the best summer we’ve ever had.

If you are just joining the party, I have 11 year old (almost 12!) triplets and a 10 year old. And yes, in years past that was NOT A GOOD COMBINATION.

But they are getting older. And better behaved, thank you, God! They love their PC’s (with Daddy doing computery stuff, we had extras so they are blessed with each having their own). They love TV. The love the pool. They love their friends and playing and pretending and I’m just so glad they are HERE instead of 3 years old and at each other constantly.

Jim and I talk about how he’d love to go back and enjoy those early days. I say I’d like to be a fly on the wall and watch me. Or be able to talk to myself and say “I promise, it will get better!” because I certainly didn’t believe it at the time.

So, all that said, it’s been a good two weeks. Next week is VBS for the youngest (older ones are too old), the following week Ethan starts Extended School Year (what he calls Summer Camp), the 15th we start Camp Good News and the 22nd they do NASA’s Summer of Innovation.  So July is going to be BUSY!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Health, Kids, Vacation

7 Quick Takes Friday


1. I’d love to sit here and say that I haven’t blogged in a week because there was just so much interesting stuff going on that I didn’t have time. The reality, unfortunately, is that Tuesday afternoon I picked Laura up at school. She stayed home with a stomach thing Wednesday and Thursday. Bennett stayed home with the same stomach thing Thursday. Ethan has a fever/congestion/tired virus Wednesday and Thursday. So yeah, I didn’t blog.

2. I’m currently waiting for a call from a producer of the Chica Show. Ethan and I had an audition on Monday for a short part in one of their shows. They needed a blind child. The producer is from the Overbrook area and knew about the school, so she called someone there. That someone called the parent liaison, who then called several girls and us. The audition went really well, surprisingly, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Mostly. Ok, a little bit. It would be a lot of fun to do it and I KNOW that Ethan would have a great time.

3. Jim starts his new contract on Monday. Hallelujah and hear the angels sing!

4. Because of #3, I just made reservations for a summer trip to Beaver Island, which is near the top of Lake Michigan. Jim’s family has  a long history of going there. They have a cabin there, so that’s helpful. Please note, however, we live in southeastern PA. It’s a two-day drive each way, plus a 2.5 hour ferry trip to get from the mainland to the island. Lots of planning and stuff has to happen, but thankfully we have a few months to work everything out.

5. Because of #1’s amount of sickness, I had to postpone Laura and Bennett’s audition at CPFA. Both were actually happy about this, as it allows for more practice time. Laura is having absolute conniptions about singing BY HERSELF in front of people. Which I completely get, because I did a fair amount of trying out in my school days. She is so like me sometimes!!

6. Backstory: Ethan receives free Braille books during the year from different organizations. One of them, Braille Institute, actually sends a small catalog that he gets to choose from. We go through the books and their descriptions and he narrows it down to four and then we order. This time around, two of the books sounded actually pretty good to me. So although he didn’t order them (and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway since I don’t fluently read braille), I got them from our local library. And let me tell you, if you are willing to read YA fiction READ THIS BOOK:

The Emerald Atlas

It was FANTASTIC. I read it in about 2 days–had a hard time putting it down–and am anxiously awaiting Book #2 to get into the library. Book #3 isn’t out yet, so I’m going to have to be patient with that.

7. Did anyone get threatened with the big ‘Saturn storm” like we did and then literally absolutely nothing beyond a little rain? I don’t understand how meteorologists keep their jobs when they are so consistently wrong!

Posted in Vacation


I thought I would drop in and say hi to whomever might actually still be reading here.

Summer vacation is good. Quiet summer vacation, where we don’t do much of anything, is even better.

Ethan has his annual ESY (extended school year) “Summer Camp” at Overbrook for 6 weeks Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The other kids have library, playing with friends, swimming in the redneck pool when the ring stays inflated, doing Science in the Summer this week and generally hanging out. It’s been–MOSTLY–good.

There’s still the whole parenting and refereeing and staying on top of their attitudes thing. That doesn’t take a vacation, unfortunately!

Ethan had his first playdate over our house on Saturday. It went well and they were very cute. So often he gets left behind in the dust of the other kids–older emotionally and socially as well as sighted. He got to have Devon all to himself and enjoyed one-on-one time with someone who truly is his peer. And her mother and I got to visit, which is also such a blessing.

We head to Rehoboth Beach later this month. Jim will be there for just the weekend while I stay for the rest of the week and do the solo parenting thing. Challenging!

I’ve actually been working some with a mom of nine. LOTS of work, of course, but oh so fun and rewarding! Although I normally take the summer off because I have to watch the kids, Jim’s been around a lot more so that frees me up.

I just want to take this moment to express my utter disgust at WalMart, who has already put out their school supplies. It’s JULY 9th, WalMart! We’re not thinking about school!

Anyway, I hope you are all enjoying your summer. 7 weeks until school, so soak up the sun and relax a bit!