Let’s get to it!
Last Friday night after fencing, Edie, Tony and I walked over to the local Our Lady of Mt. Carmel festival to catch an 80’s cover band ‘Class of ’84’. They were fantastic and Edie was in heaven, though she would’ve liked at least one Michael Jackson cover. But they did Run DMC and Beastie Boys so I might have been pretty excited myself.
Sunday night our house was briefly filled with teens before our older three and their friends all headed out to festival to figure out exactly what ‘Deep Fried Kool-Aide’ tasted like. Tony, Fulton, Teddy and I walked next door to a neighbor’s cookout. We lived at our old house ten years and never managed to build a friendly relationship with our neighbors….and not for lack of trying. It just didn’t happen. We’ve been here six months now and have met most of our immediate neighbors, and many others in town. We’re doing favors for one another, and exchanging invitations to events. As a child I lived in a village next to my grandparents and everyone knew everyone. Even when we moved a few miles away to a new small town, our family quickly formed new relationships. Once I moved away from Lancaster County, I thought perhaps I’d left those friendly neighborhoods behind as we’ve not experienced anything like it (and we moved around a bunch in the early years of our marriage.) I’m glad I was wrong.
Monday morning I drove Byron, and a carful of his friends to summer camp in Scranton PA. I needed to almost tackle him upon arrival to ensure I got my goodbye hug, but drop off was uneventful. When all my children are away, I miss them, and there’s an emptiness, but I’m usually so grateful to be alone with my husband, my focus is on enjoying myself. When only one child is away, I think I miss that one child more because they are absent from the everyday routine of daily life. Certainly, I miss the extra set of hands to get things done, but his or her personality is also missing from the dinner conversations, the arguments over movies, and family prayer time. I guess I will adjust to this more as the kids grow up and move out, but identifying the difference between singularly missing one child vs them all only really struck me this week.
Tuesday was the last day of the festival and it featured a large procession that began at the local church, wound around the town, made its way down the main street, before circling back to the church for Mass. All the statues are removed and placed on elaborate rolling carts or floats. Onlookers can approach each statute as it rolls by and give volunteers cash in exchange for holy cards of the saint. The cash is pinned to large ribbons hanging off each statue. Addie and Edie walked with the youth group and the statue of St. Theresa of Liseaux. It was hot, but the town came out; packing the final blocks before the church. We chose a shaded, and less crowded section downtown near a bench. Next year, weather permitting (and also depending on the boys’ powerchair batteries) we may all try to walk in the procession, or at least join it at the end for the final leg back to the church.
I began the daunting task of sorting and organizing this year’s (and, um, last year’s) school papers. I also created a transcript for Byron’s first year of high school. Since Addie attended Queen of Heaven Academy for 9th through 11th grades, I never needed to worry about her grades. And up until high school, I don’t really give grades, preferring instead to have the kids keep correcting and redoing the work until they are competent in the material (I don’t demand perfection, but I won’t settle for sloppy or C level work and just keep pushing forward.) I usually administer some year end tests which I grade, but thanks to NJ’s nonexistent homeschooling laws, I don’t have to be a stickler about it. High school grades however are important to record for whatever my kids might want to pursue down the road so I had to not only keep on top of Byron, but keep on top of myself to make sure I was recording everything. It sounds daunting up front, but it’s done and I now know how to make the task even easier on myself next year.
When we moved I had last year’s school work and art packed in a box which was then shoved in the basement with the previous year’s school work files (I use hanging files in crates, with each child’s work in it’s own crate.) With overflowing bins of 2018-19 work, I set about recycling most of it, bought more hanging files and labels and neatly tucked the rest away. Since the older three submit most of their work online, there’s less for the files, unless I want to print something out. Their bins become more certificates and completed drawings than the funny writing assignments or keepsakes that mark a specific milestone. Fulton and Teddy bring home TONS of papers from school. I usually weed it out each evening during the school year, but then at the end of the year, it seems a whole fresh mountain of journals, workbooks, and art projects comes home- all of which I had not sorted yet. But now everything is organized, and once the basement library is back in order, I will be able to plan for the next year.
The satisfaction of organizing school work prompted me to dig out two bins of random memorabilia and set about filing them as well. During our move I threw out tons of old schoolwork (from Tony and I!), children’s artwork, and various keepsakes. I’d managed to put everything that was left in two storage bins (three if you count the one Rubbermaid tub filled with newspapers I still need to clip my articles out of.) I knew scrapbooks and photo albums were not the way to go, so I decided to set up another hanging file system. I purchased this box with a lid and added folders for the years 2002-2019. In each I placed photos, newspapers announcements, vacation notes, extended family portraits, etc. from that year. I also had one folder just for cards the kids had made me through the years for my birthday or Mothering Sunday. I also still had several planners and I tucked those in each year as well. Maybe in a few years I’ll go back and remove them, or find other items to toss, but for now, everything is organized and the kids enjoyed looking at each years items. And by looking at my planners, I can remember specific events and moments I might have otherwise forgotten. I still have one unsorted bin left, but, I’ve scratched the organizing bug for now, so that, and the bin of newspapers, will have to wait.
Still waiting to start the “lazy days of summer” but enjoying all the craziness as much as possible (and sleeping in helps too). Write your Takes down and link them up below. Remember to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!