Family Reunion

Last weekend, we drove up to Orlando to meet my parents flying in from New York, as well as my sister, brother in law, and their new baby flying in from New Orleans.  This was Josh and the kids’ first chance to meet baby L.  MJ had a fever that forced him and Josh to sit out the first day’s events, but everyone had a great time the rest of the weekend in the Disney Parks.  We plan to do this again annually!

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Halloween 2016

The kids are getting more opinionated about Halloween costumes, so I was not able to coordinate a theme this year like I have in years past.

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AJ is a red devil, DJ is Shimmer the genie, JJ is a shadowy monster with glowing red eyes, and MJ is Woody from Toy Story!

End of Summer Vacation

To end the summer, we decided to take the family on a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas.  Wrangling all 4 kids on the boat proved challenging at times.  Without internet or cell phones, our usual strategy of splitting the kids up while staying in close communication with each other was much tougher.  Nonetheless, we had fun on some of the shore excursions exploring the islands.

AJ and JJ will be starting 4th grade in less than 2 weeks, and MJ and DJ will be starting preschool! Stay tuned…

Birthday Month

July is a hectic month for our household because the kids’ birthdays are so close together.  AJ and JJ turned 9 this year the day after DJ and MJ turned 3.  I am looking forward to the day I can get away with having one birthday celebration for all 4 kids, but in the meantime Josh feels duty bound to throw at least 2 separate parties.

This year AJ and JJ invited their 3rd grade classes over to our home for a pool party.  Being that AJ and JJ are in two separate classes, the party was well attended with more than 20 kids and their parents enjoying our pool and a rented inflatable waterslide.

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The following weekend we took the kids to Orlando.  It was sobering to see that the parks were not as busy as they usually are this time of year, probably due to recent events in the city.  The boys had pirate makeovers on Saturday, and DJ had a princess beauty appointment on Sunday.  I thought I was being smart bringing her own Cinderella dress from home, but once DJ realized she wasn’t getting one of the new dresses on display in the lobby, she refused to sit down in the salon chair until I bought her a new pair of Cinderella shoes to match! DJ and MJ saw their first move in the theater, Finding Dory, and loved it.  On Monday, we relaxed in the lazy river at Blizzard Beach and the older boys enjoyed the waterslides.

The weekend after that was our 2nd and final birthday celebration of the year, for DJ and MJ.  Since they were born, I have been calling AJ and JJ “the boys” and DJ and MJ “the babies.”  But at 3 years of age, I’m not really sure I can call them babies anymore…

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Memories and Loss

Growing up in New York my family would gather almost every weekend at Aunt Nancy and Uncle Roger’s house to have dinner and play mah jongg betting quarters into the night.  These gatherings were very routine and content.  We enjoyed spending time with each other.  I imagine there were several times that seated around me at the mah jongg table for four were my Grandmother, my Uncle Roger, and my Uncle Mike.

Uncle Roger died last year after a long battle with cancer.  Aunt Nancy sold the house in New York and moved to California last month.  About a week after she left, my Uncle Mike was a pedestrian hit by a car.  He lingered comatose for about a week before he died on a Monday, and my Grandmother who had been suffering from Alzheimer’s died three days later that Thursday. Although she was very advanced in her dementia, my family thinks she wanted to be with her son when she was told the news.

All of this loss in my extended family, especially the sudden loss of Uncle Mike, has taught me a lesson to cherish every moment with my family.  I stop myself from getting upset over relatively trivial things.  I should be grateful for the time I have with Josh, JJ, AJ, DJ, and MJ because I never know when we could be walking down the street and they could be taken from me in an instant.

This photo was taken just before AJ and JJ were born.  Three are no longer with us.

This photo was taken just before AJ and JJ were born. Three are no longer with us.