We’re Out of Ice Cream And Other Summertime Struggles

The first week without our usual school routine has been a little strange.

Obviously, there’s the whole “kid who had throat surgery” thing. Sam had a little scare last night and had to go to the emergency room. Andrew took him while I stayed home with the other kids and ate my feelings from Sam’s ice cream stash. Fortunately, he was given the all clear and they were home by midnight. I wiped the dairy products from my face and greeted them with relief before we all fell into bed.

Sam is doing much better today, but we’re on high alert here until the scabs are fully healed. He’s been such a trooper and I’m so proud of him.


Meanwhile, the rest of the gang is completely lost without their gang leader. Ian has a sinus infection and has joined his twin on the couch, so my middle children are leading the pack. Which means there’s some power struggles, the occasional coup, and a lot of bouncing off of walls and ceilings. Who knew that Peace In Our Times relied so heavily on the influence of two eleven year old boys?

I know we’re only two days into this summer vacation thing, but I’m already flailing wildly for things to entertain everybody. We put the pool up over the weekend but discovered a huge leak and my plan of Swim Them Into Exhaustion On The Daily hangs in the balance.

The youngers have recently developed an obsession with playing with my jewelry and trying on my shoes. I allow it on occasion, but with Andrew working in the same room as my closet, I have to curtail their activities during the week. So I stuck a large tree branch in a pot, dragged it into my bedroom, and let the kids hang all my necklaces on the tree.

They felt helpful, I felt free to cook dinner without answering eleventy-hundred questions about what was for dinner. (Bless the poor child who asks me after four others have asked before him. I often want to turn to him and say, “Look up and see the thin thread that hangs between you and me losing my sanity. Tread lightly, dear one, and do not ask what you do not wish to receive an overly-dramatic response to.”)


Later, Andrew stared at the now lilting tree by my bedside table. “Are you really going to use that?”

Which was his gentle way of saying, “NO. I’ve put a tree in the living room, a branch over the dining room table, and a limb in the kitchen, but I Draw The Line at a tree in the bedroom, Lady!”

Lucky for him, I responded with a snort and a resounding, “No. That was just to keep them busy. I’ll have them take it down in a day or two and get another thirty minutes of peace.”

Which is when I realized that it’s not even June and I’m already inventing impractical solutions to household issues just to keep the kids occupied.

Somebody send a bag of Play-doh or something…

The tree didn’t survive 24 hours because Finn knocked it over in a sudden gush of admiration for my bracelets. Willa cheerfully unloaded every necklace for me and I’ll toss it back in the yard where it came from once it stops raining.

Finn was properly penitent. I heard him crying in my bedroom and saying, “I sow-wee, Mama. I sow-wee.”

Then he ran to me and buried his head in my lap. This was a much sweeter conversation of grace and tenderness than what I usually get from him…

His favorite TV show is Peep in the Big Wide World. He binge watches it on Netflix like it’s West Wing or something. One day, as I was changing his diaper, he asked me, “Is there poop in there, Mama?”

“No,” I said.

“Oh… It just Peep?”

Potty training is gonna be a blast with this one!





So I think we’re done with school for the year.

We went out with more of a whimper than a bang. Sam had his tonsils removed last Wednesday and some of the gang is sporting a summer cold. By Friday, I was so sleep deprived from round-the-clock medication for Sam (and that anxiety-ridden non-sleeping thing that mothers do before a baby has surgery) that you could have announced the twins were graduating high school and I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

Further proof that I am TOO OLD for midnight parenting duties.

The doctor said Sam could keep doing his school work but even I’m not so hard-hearted to expect him to do MATH with such a sore throat. I initially thought we had another week with Ms. Jennifer by our side, but, as per usual for this year, I read the calendar wrong. Which means that we are officially done with our school year.


Photo on 5-24-15 at 6.51 PM #3


Does it feel totally anti-climactic when you’re homeschooling or is it just me? I haven’t even told the kids yet. Mostly because they still have to do math and latin through our summer break. Which isn’t a long one. They are done with the rest of their stuff and we usually take them out for ice cream or something… but I think if we gave Sam any more ice cream he would actually cry.


He has begged us for every meal we’ve eaten in front of him. Meme suggested I give him a hot dog bun soaked in melted butter and he was so happy he nearly wept. So that $150 bucks I dropped on protein shakes and ice cream was definitely money well spent…

Doesn’t matter. His siblings are just counting the days until Sam declares his throat healed and they can scarf up all the uneaten popsicles in the freezer. I’ll be glad to see the ice cream go, myself. Nothing kills my self control like a pint of ice cream in the freezer. I came stomping through the kitchen late last night and yelled out my frustration to Andrew, “The ice cream in this house is too close for comfort!!”

Then I buried my woes in a pint of chocolate peanut butter, as one does.

I plan to spend the week remembering how to just be a mom and then we’re going to tackle all the closets in the house. I’ll have the kids begging me for school in no time…


What they do with their free time… and what happens to all the socks in the house.


What’s your summer plan now that the school year has limped across the finish line???