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.
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!
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.
After boarding at the Port of Miami
The kids watching through the window while pulling out of port
Signing the kids up for activities on the boat.
Diana wanted to keep the hat
Visiting the nature center
On the beach near Freeport
MJ passed out on the bench after the beach
Hanging out with the locals
AJ is getting his name woven into a hat
DJ enjoyed the royal kid parade on the boat
On a semi submarine in Nassau
The kids could see all the ocean creatures while staying dry
Beautiful views of fish and coral reef
From Bahamas with love!
M & M & M
On the beach building a sand castle
On the beach at Great Stirrup Cay
Boys getting ready to snorkel with stingrays!
JJ holding a stingray and MJ getting brave petting
AJ with stingray
DJ was scared but she held a starfish instead
Right before disembarking, AJ got stuck in a bathroom stall with a broken lock. They had to break the door down!
AJ and JJ will be starting 4th grade in less than 2 weeks, and MJ and DJ will be starting preschool! Stay tuned…
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.
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…
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.
Early Sunday morning we heard the news that a shooter had murdered many people at a gay club in Orlando, Florida. We were immediately concerned in part because we have friends who were in Orlando last week to celebrate Gay Days. We later learned that they were home safe before the shooting started, but many were not so lucky. 49 LGBT people and their allies had their lives cut short, and 53 people were injured. This is the worst mass shooting in US history.
In the aftermath, it has become clear that the shooter was an American born Muslim who was married twice to women but apparently frequented gay dating websites and clubs. He legally purchased the two guns he used to commit these crimes and even though he had been on terrorist watch lists, the Republican controlled Senate blocked a bill that would prevent such people from buying guns last December.
I sincerely hope this incident teaches many that homophobia and self loathing can indeed be lethal. Maybe this will result in some sensible gun control laws, but I do not have a lot of hope. After all, if a classroom full of 1st graders slaughtered in 2012 couldn’t move GOP controlled Congress to do something, what chance do 100+ dead and injured homosexuals have today?