Thanks for being patient! This week I’m coming to you across the web from the suburbs of Milwaukee, WI. I was determined to not forget Quick Takes two weeks in a row (even if I got behind)! Let’s bring you up to speed (and add some more memories to the ol’ blog for posterity’s sake).
Fulton’s turned eleven last Friday and we celebrated with both sets of grandparents and a Gumball shaped cake made by my mom. This masterpiece continues a tradition started when I was little and my mom created elaborate cakes for my sister and I. My eleventh birthday cake was Bart Simpson. Don’t have a cow man!
We have a family tradition that when someone turns 11, they get a trip to New York City. Fulton is anxious for his turn, but obviously, logistics will need to be much different for his visit. Even the accessible train stations are notorious for having elevator problems, and I’m sure it won’t be any easier to find handicap parking if we decide to drive. So, more research is needed, but hopefully we can get the trip in before a new school year begins.
We cleaned up from one party while concurrently setting up for another. On Saturday, we celebrated our tenth Nativity of St. John the Baptist party, but the first one at our new house. It actually fell on the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, but given camp pick ups and Fulton’s illness, it worked out we picked a later weekend. We purchased party tents to provide sun cover and Tony spent Saturday mornong in the hot sun setting them up. I had cleaned out and reoginized the garage the previous Wednesday (our first full day home from the hospital) and spent my time getting the food tables set up. The big kids tackled various cleaning and prep jobs (BIG KIDS FOR THE WIN!!). It was hot, and by the time guests started ariving, thunderstorm warnings were flashing on our phones. The tents were being jostled by increasing wind gusts, and eventually had to be temporarily disasembled while the adults waited out a quick storm in our garage and screened-in porch, while the kids tried to get as wet as possible.
It was a smaller party with only 84 people, but just as fun. We still held our annual sack races (though I initially didn’t think our yard would be big enough). The only difference was that by sunset, I was exhausted. I actually sat down, and felt ready for the party to end. I worried that maybe I was actually getting old and slowing down, when Tony reminded me I’d spent almost a week nursing Fulton through a stomach bug at home and at the hospital, then immediately threw myself into party prep, often outside in extreme heat. (Did I mention I tore down a fence, uprooted landscaping timbers, and removed tons of old shrubbery to prepare the yard?) There was good reason I was tired. It’s not just old age dangnabit!!
But there is no rest for the weary (or old?) because Sunday required Mass, party clean up (so many trash bags!!!) AND we needed to pack for seven days in the Midwest. Thankfully, the big kids had themselves covered for packing (though we all waited far to long to catch up on laundry) but I still had all the boys things to get ready in time for our 4 a.m. departure. I also waiting until about 6 p.m. to find someone to feed our two cats. We were going to do the drive in one day, vs breaking it over two, which meant leaving before dawn to arrive in WI at a reasonable hour. Somehow, we did it and left on schedule.
If you remember our Airbnb debacle, I was concerned about where we would stay. Ultimately, the older three stayed with family while Tony, the boys and I stayed in a cheap motel nearby. Sure, I didn’t feel great about walking around the room barefoot, and I didn’t let the comforters touch the boys while they were sleeping, but it had a large accessible bathroom, plenty of outlets, and room for all our stuff. We saved money and all the boys cared about was that the room had a TV with Cartoon Network. Win-win for all concerned.
We didn’t over-schedule our time out here and do a lot of sight-seeing/ tourist type stuff, preferring instead to relax, watch movies, play games, swim, and visit with family. We did walk to a local festival that featured carnival games and rides, live music, fireworks, and professional wrestling ( a term I only use because the “wrestlers” are apparently paid something, but it’s not to be confused with WWE or anything). Teddy knew his uncle loves the Rocky movies, so our vacation also featured a Rocky movie marathon. The only downsides are that the theme song has been stuck in my head for days and I fear this could become an annual tradition.
Tomorrow we start our drive back (which we decided to break over two days so Tony’s not a complete zombie when he heads back to work on Tuesday). I hope to make progress in a fascinating new book I’m reading entitled ‘Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom’, and later this week, I hope to share my thoughts on Mary Lenaburg’s “Be Brave in the Scared” which I read on the drive out. The secret to reading in the car (for me) is to have a full stomach and take frequent breaks to look out the window…and not be the driver, that’s key.
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