Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Long, Fun Days of Summer!

Wow! It has been brought to my attention very recently that I have been neglecting my blog. I have been busy and feeling very uninspired. I suppose you can call this my "catch up post".

Here we are at the end of July, 2014! I've been celebrating the 10th birthday of my J-man in February, the 7th birthday of my T-man in May and my 13th wedding anniversary a few days after T-man's birthday as well as a few other family member's birthdays.

So far this summer it has been fun. It was a slow start but we've been rocking this month! While the boys' daddy works, the munchkins and I have been doing several different little excursions as well as a couple bigger trips to Gettysburg and then Philly for the day. Philly was with Joel, which made the day extra special since we were all able to be together.

Our trip to Philadelphia was planned purely for the enjoyment of J-man. He has been yearning to go there to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross House as well as the Ben Franklin Museum. So, guess what we saw? Yes, indeed. We managed to fit all that in, plus a few other spur-of-the-moment adventures such as buying cheese steaks and hot dogs for lunch from the cart on the street. We did a hop into Carpenter's Hall, and the Old Customs House and wandered around for a while. The last thing was enjoying water ices from another cart on the corner of Arch street.

The day was very fun and J-man loved it. He craves learning and this trip satisfied his yearning to learn more about these sites in Philly. Both boys had an absolutely fantastic time in the Ben Franklin Museum. There are so many hand-on things inside that we spent a good chunk of time inside the museum. It was much more of a hit than I expected it to be! The boys learned quite about Franklin and his inventions, ideas and how he lived.

Our trip to Gettysburg was with my parents, aka Nanny and Pop Pop B. It was a very good day with lots of walking and exploring. We made a "quick" trip into the Visitor's Center for a map and information. Then we drove through the southern end of the Battlefield, making several stops to walk around and explore. The boys enjoyed walking around Little Round Top and then Devil's Den. We stopped also at various monuments and memorials. Next visit we want to explore the areas we have not seen yet, the Northern end and Gettysburg Center to see the Jennie Wade House and other building which still bear the marks of the battle.

Joel took the boys to Lake Tobias for a day and they all had a lot of fun and quality time together. They all enjoy seeing the animals, such as the zebras, bears and others. We have all been there before so I did not mind having them go without me, when I was not feeling well. They came back with lots of excitement and stories about their favorite animals. There were goats that were gnawing on the boys' shirts as they were wanting to be fed. There were many, many laughs as they told and retold these stories. Their excitement was too much to contain and was definitely contagious.

We are now preparing for Joel to be in England soon and I have some ideas to keep the boys' spirits up while he is away. There is Band Lessons for J-man, followed by Sylvan (more information on that to follow) and a few specials that I have "planned". At Landis Valley Museum there is a special Hands-On History Day with several things that the children can try their hand at if they'd like. For those who are not aware of what this Museum is, it is a living museum of an early German settlement. There are several buildings such as a blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse, etc. I think they boys should enjoy this because they have been there before when they had their annual Herb Fair. They very much enjoyed walking around looking in all the windows and open buildings.

I am also thinking of going to visit Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown, PA. The good thing that has come from all the road-trips and long drives to the Outer Banks is that the boys are used to being in the car (or van in our case) for long periods of time. We have even driven to Yellowstone in Wyoming the other year! The first day was about 17 hours, I believe! Shorter drives within the state are usually a piece of cake.

Alas, the days of summer are swiftly passing us by. School begins at the end of August which is coming quickly. We are anxiously awaiting the day when we get notice of the boys' teachers for this new, upcoming year. J-man is in 4th grade and T-man is in 2nd grade this year. They are both excited to see their friends but they are nervous as well.

"Will my friends still like me?"
"What if my friends are mean?"
"What if my teacher is mean...doesn't like me....or ignores me?"
"What if the school [curriculum] is too hard?"
"What if the new principal doesn't care about me?"

These are a few of the discussions that are ongoing in my house. We discuss teachers - at least what we know of them - what we think the new principal will be like, etc. We also discuss the bus, the new times for school (9:00 start, 3:30 end) and what this means for the morning routine and snack time. The new ending time also means that I will probably be picking the boys up from school on the days that J-man has Sylvan.

God's blessings to you all!
~Karen