Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

With no where to go and no one to entertain I expected a quiet weekend. I was surprised how busy we were!

We had out the usual Thanksgiving dinner followed by a round of Do You Really Know Your Family?

Maybe Aaron is too young to get the sharp knives this year?

Playing games with my family was one of those things I dreamt of when I was pregnant and envisioning how my future family would be together. Laughing and joking while competing in a friendly game which brings us all closer together and gives us fond memories to cherish forever. But as many of us parents now know, the dreams you had when you were pregnant never become your future reality. You think those dreams are a way for you to plan for your future, but they are really a lesson in managing your expectations.

Most times when we do family games it ends with someone quitting in frustration, angry name calling and always the word, “cheating” is thrown around at some point. I’ve even gone as far as buying games from Peaceful Kingdom which sells games where the players have to co-operate instead of compete.

Surprisingly the game didn’t go sideways this time. It wobbled a bit then righted itself. Aaron’s eyes only brimmed with tears but they didn’t fall. Most arguments about who won the card were quickly forgotten. And Ben won, proving that he actually knows himself and the rest of the family better than the rest of us. Which surprised everyone at the table, even Ben.

We also spent the weekend putting together some bits for Sam’s teacher’s bulletin board. All the kids helped which made it so much more enjoyable. Perhaps this is what I should have been envisioning when I was pregnant?

The twins are there for scale. (I’m not actually going to staple them to a bulletin board.)

Saturday we had a soccer session.

Sunday was the start of Hanukkah. So when the boys woke up, they were greeted with this…

The Hanukkah Bears brought LOTS of candy to decorate gingerbread houses with. And chocolate coins to bet with in the dreidel game. We spent the morning building and decorating.

Ben and Aaron ate more than they decorated. Sam and Jack opened their houses up and stuffed extra candy inside for later.

Afterwards, if anyone was still hungry, we got a big Dim Sum lunch.

Yummy Dim Sum from Ming Hin. I miss going to the restaurant, though.

We lit the candles by 4:30pm, the official start of darkness in this northern city we live in. After the candles, we played the dreidel game.

No, Adam is not a doctor, he just plays one at home.

For their present that evening, all the boys chose one of their Lego boxes that they picked out with Adam last weekend.

Aaron and Ben insisted on getting the Darth Vader Meditation Center, even though it was for ages 18+. Which meant Adam had to do both sets with them simultaneously.

Monday morning the Hanukkah Bears were up to their usual mischief….

Tonight after we light the candles, the kids will receive “Calisoff Cash”.

Stay tuned for more Hanukkah Bears coming soon!

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Ultimate Soccer Family

This fall has been an avalanche of soccer. Pre-covid Ben signed up and for the first time we had all four boys playing soccer. But within three games Ben had broken his finger on a goal post. Shortly after that, the pandemic made it so we were unable to finish the season.

Adding Ben to the soccer mix intensified things and now Jack starting high school soccer has kicked it up yet another notch. Unlike the other boys who have a weekly practice and a weekly game, Jack is now practicing four days a week on top of one or two games a week.

Each weekend is like a highly orchestrated labyrinth that Adam and I have to co-ordinate. We have to take the times of the various games into account, then triangulate the locations to see if we can both cover all the games.

Sam and Aaron playing last weekend.

One weekend we figured out an elaborate set up where I dropped the twins and Adam off for their game, then drove Jack and Ben 45 minutes away to Jack’s game, turned around and returned to Adam and the twins, jumped out of the car with Ben for his game while Adam whisked the twins away in the car to see Jack’s game. Then Adam had to drive back another 45 minutes to pick us up.

The next weekend we calculated renting a zip car was half as expensive as the speeding ticket I got the previous weekend, trying to frantically get to all the games in time.

It’s a bit of a shock to the system after the long leisure days of the pandemic. When covid forced us to shut down and slow down I’ll admit it wasn’t all bad. Sure, I missed my free time during the day (and when I say free time I mean going to the grocery store without dragging a kid or two with you). I missed going on runs while listening to podcasts. I watched my New Yorkers pile up uncomfortably, my days constantly being interrupted for someone else’s needs made concentrating on the long, thoughtful articles an impossible task. But I didn’t miss the feeling that I had to keep pushing to be more, do more. Pre-pandemic, sitting around all weekend when it was sunny out was wrong. No matter how tired you were, you had to get out and enjoy it. The pandemic made letting your kids play on screens all day acceptable. You weren’t scrolling Facebook and feeling envious of every exotic vacation your friends were taking. No one was going anywhere! And if they did, you didn’t feel envy but fear for their safety. We got used to waking up naturally without an alarm. I got to know my kids in a way that intimate and real. Our kids became closer than ever. After all the blurry exhaustion of having 4 kids under the age of 5, the payoff was here. They didn’t suffer loneliness or boredom during the pandemic. There was always someone to join a video game with, someone to wrestle with, enough people to have a decent game of hide and seek.

Coach Adam (for the twins) and all the boys in their soccer uniforms for the day, practicing before the twin’s game.

And now we are back to frantic parenting. Again I’ll admit it’s not all bad. I love watching the games. I also love that the kids are out and about doing normal things, not missing their precious and short childhood sitting in the house hiding from Covid-19. The soccer schedule also makes me feel I have checked all the boxes that I’m suppose to do. If parenting had a report card like the ones your kids get at school, I’d be proud to see a big fat A in the physical education section.

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Jack’s 8th Grade Graduation

Today Jack graduated from 8th grade.

They had a beautiful, socially distant outdoor ceremony. He attended a fine arts magnet for the past nine years, so as usual, the performance was excellent.

We let the twins play hooky for the morning so they could come to Jack’s graduation.

When I graduated middle school, most of the students I attended with moved onto the local high school next. This is the way it is in most of America. You start at a small, local elementary school, then next maybe three or four local elementary schools all go to a bigger middle school, then a couple of middle schools combine to go to a larger high school.

You don’t lose people, you just gain more and more.

Chicago is not like that.

Even if you go to your local middle school instead of a magnet, parochial or private school, you still have the issue of high school. In Chicago, it is almost like picking a college. Most of the kids in Jack’s school sat for the selective enrollment test, hoping to get into one of the top high school in the city. The graduation ceremony program listed the different high schools the students will attend. Out of the 31 kids that graduated, there were 19 different high schools listed.

After this, these kids will scatter to all corners of Chicago. Which made this photo so bittersweet.

This school had a single class, which means that every year the kids were in the same classroom. They became quite a tight knit community.

But there is more.

Jack has one friend that he also attended preschool with. They have been in the same class since they were even younger – since they were 3 years old. Eleven of their fourteen years on earth, in the same room most days.

Both boys applied to many schools, but only one of the schools that they applied to was the same.

And guess what?

Jack tested in to the same school as his good friend! And they both accepted!

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It’s been nine weeks since we drove our kids to Florida over Spring Break. Originally we planned to stay for three weeks to help cover the hospital visits for my mother. My sister had already covered five weeks and I wanted my turn.

If you include our earlier visit last December, we were in Florida so long this year that my friend Jessica started calling this time period “The Year Nikki Lived in Florida.”

When we arrived, my sister had organized an Easter egg hunt. On Passover.

Passover dinner with Grandpa and Auntie Doris

We were able to celebrate the Jews liberation from slavery AND eat candy celebrating the resurrection of Christ!

During our stay, the twins turned nine.

We let them pick their own cake and guess what? They picked the same exact cake.

We spent a lot of time outdoors in the glorious weather.

We played tennis.
We went snorkeling. (Red Reef Park)
We flew kites.
We played basketball.
And we spent a ton of time in the pool.

We also got to spend time with Grandpa and other family members.

Walk with Grandpa.

One day, Uncle David took us apple snail shell hunting.

Three of the four kids were schooled remotely. Adam worked from my mother’s office, although the view could be distracting at times…

One night Adam’s cousin, Jackie and her husband Mark, hosted us on their beautiful Mastercraft pontoon.

Later, on our way home, we saw another cousin (Jackie’s brother, Brett) as well.

In South Carolina

One day we played hookie and got a tour guide to take us fossil hunting.

The Peace River

One week, Adam and I returned to Chicago to get our second Covid shot while my sister and her family watched most of my children.

Battling with their cousin, Clay.
Uncle Brent opens their eyes to a whole new world right outside their front door.

Jack got to see his buddies over Spring Break.

Another weekend Jack’s buddies came to our house. One of Jack’s friend’s mother is my good friend Nicole. She joined us for the weekend.

My father takes the boys on a bike ride.
Cable Park Fun
Snorkeling at Blue Heron Bridge.
Celebrating both Jack’s buddies birthdays during our visit.

The boys weekend coincided with Mother’s Day. Having my friend Nicole there really helped.

Nicole and I taking a walk on Mother’s Day.

The other thing that really helped on Mother’s Day was chatting to my sister, Lara. She asked me what Mom would be chatting to us about if she was still with us. This conversation where Lara honored Mom’s memory was very comforting to me.

Another big support for me during these difficult weeks was my high school girlfriends. I’ve kept in touch with many people from high school but there is a group of six of us that are very close. We vacation together, we text and chat all the time. We show up at each other’s major events. We have formed our own Moai.

In my mother’s backyard.

Three of these girls now live close to my home town. And they were over often offering all kinds of love and support; bringing dinners, offering free medical advice, even hosting the funeral!

After the funeral, my girlfriends and family surrounds me with love and support.

But the biggest support by far was my husband. He worked tirelessly to help put Mom’s estate and house in order before we left. He supported me in ways I didn’t even know I needed. On the day my mother died, he cancelled all his phone calls and took me to lunch. He even let me leave Florida a few weeks later than we had scheduled when I jokingly told him that Mom’s mangoes were ripening and it would “really help my grieving process” to pick some before we left.

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Winnifred Devensky 1938-2021

It is with great sadness that I write that my mother has passed from this life.

We held a short, graveside service Sunday April 18th at 10am at the Boca Municipal Cemetery. My father filmed the service and I have included it below.

We will hold a longer Celebration of Life ceremony via Zoom as well, details are below:

Topic: Winnifred Devensky’s Celebration of Life

Time: Jun 5, 2021 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 880 0325 4020
Passcode: 488431

In lieu of flowers, you can send a check payable to the “Chinese Cultural Association”.

Chinese Cultural Association
PO Box 165920
Miami, Florida, 33116

Six weeks ago Mom walked into the hospital for open heart surgery and she never left. The surgery did not go well. The surgeon called to let us know he almost lost her on the operating table. Two days later she suffered a heart attack. She was rushed back to the operating room where they put 6 stents in, hoping to stave of the damage from the heart attack. She had a lot of bad luck in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Pneumonia from the ventilator, kidney failure, necrosis, gall stones and strange blood reading were some of the complications she faced. She fought incredibly hard for her life, coming back three times after coding out, but in the end she lost the battle.

While she was in the hospital she had a lot of pain, but no matter how much pain she had, her sense of humor and patient nature still shown through. We had three separate nurses in the ICU describe her as feisty.

Winnie was born and raised in Jamaica. Up until the age of ten she lived in a small village called Winsor. The town was so small that her father bought a donkey and hired someone to take her to and from school. She jokingly called this donkey her “limousine”. From age 10-15 she lived in Port Antonio and finally she lived in Kingston. She played basketball and netball. But her most remembered quality for all who knew her was her prolific sociability. She had many friends in Jamaica that she still kept in touch with all the way into her 80s.

After leaving Jamaica, she spent a few years in Hong Kong and then New York where she met my father.

Winnie and Walter Devensky

After they married and had their first child, they lived in the Philippines for a year. Eventually they settled in Boca Raton, FL. I was born the year after they moved.

Plot where our childhood home will be built in Boca Raton.

As a mother, Winnie loved to cook. My sister and I still have very distinct memories of crepes for breakfast, egg rolls, and her famous banana bread.

Mom in her kitchen cooking

She also loved to expose us to all kinds of different cuisines, like Dim Sum, Jamaican patties, and all the different kinds of Latin foods you can find in South Florida.

Meeting in Xian in 1996? 1997? – Mom tours China while I study abroad.

She also loved to travel. When were got old enough, Mom went back to work as a travel agent. I still remember how excited she was when Bhutan opened to the public and she could camp her way through the country.

Mom visited Bhutan in 1984, when they first started giving out visitor visas. They didn’t have hotels so they had to camp.

She encountered locals who had never seen a camera before. Each time she would visit a country, she would come back with a doll. Now over 300 dolls sit in a display in her kitchen.

She loved to share her travels with family or friends. When I was 15 and my sister was 18 we traveled to Papeete and Bora Bora, Tahiti.

Tahiti 1988

When she was older and most of her friends had retired, she would organize trips abroad for groups of 20 people annually. They would travel to globe; Prague, Budapest, Croatia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Israel, Cyprus, China, Japan, following the Silk Road, and so many other places!

She had an excellent sense of humor. I can’t count how many times a conversation with her would end in a full on belly laugh, rolling on the floor with our eyes watering.

Her outgoing personality was such that whether she spent a little or a lot of time with you, she left a deep impression. She will be missed.

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Jack’s 14th Birthday

Even if we weren’t in a pandemic, nothing could compare with Jack’s birthday party last year. His Bar Mitzvah was the biggest party we will ever throw for him. From here on out it’s all downhill.

At this point, we feel blessed that he’s still young enough to enjoy a birthday spent with his family. Probably from here on out, that too is downhill for us.

We started the day with the usual donuts and bagel sandwiches.

After a sugary feast, he opened some of the cards and gift he got from us. Each brother made him a card, with no guidance from us. When I read Aaron’s, my heart melted.

Aaron’s nickname these days is, “Chicken Legs”.

Jack found it endearing as well, enough to give him this big hug.

In the morning Jack started building one of his gifts, a Lego motorcycle.

In the afternoon, we went to Mass VR ( in Skokie. This was the first year we couldn’t invite his entire class, but we did bring two of his friends from school. Including our family, this made a nice number of 8 people, enough to have a good game.

The virtual reality was stunning. It was so real I almost fell over after virtually zip lining. But the many hours gaming Candy Crush instead of shooter games like the rest of the gang served me poorly. When we left, I was surprised to find out there was a third floor of the game I never found. I was too busy re-spawning, then walking in a small circle only to find someone had shot me and I was back in the lobby again.

Also, the recommended age is 12 but they only require a height of 48″. So we included the twins, who are 8 but meet the height requirements. As a result, Aaron’s avatar looked like he was crouching the entire time.

Sam, who is slightly shorter, was like a ghost. At one point he banged right into me then said, “Mom you ran into me!:

I replied, “Okay, Dobby, I’m not actually walking now.”

Still that little ghost elf managed to get twice as many kills as me!

Finally Jack chose sushi for dinner and ate about 6 California rolls on his own.

For dessert, we had pumpkin pie AND cheesecake.

Happy Birthday Jack. And many moooorrre…
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Valentine’s Day 2021

Like most holidays during this pandemic, Valentine’s Day was a muted version of what it once was.

We started the morning with special waffles and heart shaped strawberries.

My favorite part of the day was opening my many cards from all my kids. (I’m pretty sure the oldest one was strong armed under duress to make one for me.)

But during the day, it was just another day full of putzing around the house. Besides copious amounts of time spent on electronics, some of the kids spent their time carving soap and having bubble baths.

Oh, and Aaron made his life plan…

In the evening, we tried to order king crab from three different places, but we struck out on all of them. I’m sure this is due to the ever changing uncertainty restaurants are facing at this time. So we ate at home, and promised ourselves we would wait for another time to have a crab feast. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to be more patient and flexible.

And creative! Aaron finds his disco ball and we end the evening dancing to “Saturday Night Fever.”

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Trip to Florida

Because of the surge in covid-19, a few weeks before Thanksgiving Ben’s school sent us a message. “Out of an abundance of caution”, they were pausing all in person learning until January 11th. Around the same time Adam’s office asked that people only come if it was essential.

“We might as well rent a house in Florida for a month.” I said to Adam. There was no reason any of us had to be in a city that was completely shuttered and was too cold to go outdoors.

I thought perhaps with his mountain of work, it would be to hard for Adam to spend the time traveling. It’s a solid two days drive down. Surprisingly he agreed.

Perhaps it wasn’t so surprising. Before Covid, we were planning on flying to Florida around this time and taking the kids to Disney plus adding on either a stop in Marco Island, to show them where we got married, or a stop in Boca Raton where my parents live. We figured we wouldn’t have time to do all three stops.

So, two weeks before we were set to leave, we frantically searched for a house rental with a solid month available.

We found a perfect place equidistant from my mother and father’s place in Deerfield Beach. It was walking distance to the beach. And it had a heated pool! However, it was only available for three weeks.

We decided we would add a few nights in Marco Island, but skip Disney because it seemed just too reckless and unsafe.

Twin masks

We arrived to find my parents stocking the house with requested extra portable tables for remote learning and treats.

Homemade rugalug from Grandpa and homemade Italian Christmas cookies from Japo.

The kids wasted no time changing into swim clothes and taking full advantage of the heated pool. Many days the kids had ‘recess’ in the pool.

We spent the next two weeks remote learning during the day, but making plenty of time for fun things every afternoon and weekend.

We spent time in Grandpa’s pool too. Japo’s neighbor let us borrow their huge float which the males in the house blew up and promptly tried push each other off of.

One weekend we took them to Ski Rixen at Quiet Waters Park. They have a special time in the mornings when they slow the cable down and allow kids 7 and up (as opposed to 12 and up normally) to learn to ski, wakeboard, or kneeboard.

Ben surprises us by making a full loop.

During this time, they have a golf cart that picks up the fallen riders and brings them back to the starting point.

Sam keeps trying until he makes a full loop.
Jack manages to loop the track three times.

We spent many hours on beaches, both in Deerfield Beach and in Marco Island.

What goes out…
…must come back.
Looking for shells at Tigertail Beach in Marco Island.
Shelling on one of the 10,000 islands on Marco Island with our friends the Piercys.

We also spent a lot of time on boats.

On cousin Jackie’s pontoon boat in Fort Lauderdale.
Snorkeling boat trip in Key Largo.
Shelling tour in Marco Island.

We also celebrated Hanukkah during our time in Deerfield Beach. I didn’t do a great job with the Hanukkah bears, but they did manage to make a few appearances.

The Hanukkah bears stole the kids electronics.
The Hanukkah bears went snorkeling.
The Hanukkah bears stole Sam’s microscope (a Hanukkah present from Grandpa)
The Hanukkah bears went biking.
The Hanukkah bears built a pillow fort.
They even made an appearance at ‘school’.

The kids saw lots of amazing things that we never see here….

Iguanas in our backyard.
Dolphins surfing our boat wake in Marco Island.
Cape Romano. Marco Island.

We had so many wonderful adventures, but the very best part of the trip was all the time spent with friends and family. Because of the weather, we were able to have many different socially distant meet ups.

Delicious dinner at Etaru in Hallandale with Adam’s cousin Jackie and her husband, Mark.
Celebrating my birthday with this beloved group of friends, a friendship that has lasted over 30 years so far.
Meeting up with my Chicago friend at the Ocean Reef Club in Kay Largo.
Lovely boat tour with the Piercy’s in Marco Island.
Japo takes the twins on a tour of her house.
Grandpa take Jack and Adam on a bike ride.

Oh, and after we drove 17 hours into Florida, I pointed out that we had just passed Disney World. It was a shame not to go when we were passing RIGHT BY IT and considering how hard it was to get here from Chicago.

I suggested that we add a few more days to the trip and stop by Disney on our way home.

Are you surprised that Adam agreed?

Turns out Disney was only booking the park at 1/3 capacity. They did a lot of work to make it covid safe, with clearly marked lines to stand 6 feet apart while queuing. Spacing for dining and not being able to enter any food places until you placed a mobile order. They were strict on masking and frankly it felt a lot safer than what I saw when I briefly stopped at gas stations across America.

The happiest place on Earth.
Animal Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios.
Make your own Droid at Hollywood Studios.
The kids all leave with a Groku souvenir.

It was truly a magical vacation, ironically one we could not have had without this pandemic.

We are back in freezing Chicago and I’m missing Florida already.

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Halloween 2020

After much thought, Adam and I decided not to take the kids trick or treating this year. We just couldn’t think of a way to do it that would adhere to the CDC guidelines.

Three days ago, Governor Pritzker announced that all indoor dining and bars will be shut down. A curfew is in effect. Our hospitals are almost at capacity.

Now is not the time for risk.

Although the kids will not trick or treat, they still had the option to get a new Halloween costume. Only Aaron took us up on the offer.

When his costume arrived he wore it for two days straight, even to bed.

This year Aaron is a “Gold Ninja Avenger”.

He even wore it to school. In addition he’s been dressing up Teddy in costumes to sit with him at school for the week. Maybe I helped. By helped I mean Jack and I would dress Teddy up every night so in the morning Aaron would be surprised.

Darth Teddy

We decided to do an Easter Egg hunt with candy to replace Trick or Treating this year.

In the morning, I did a social distancing walk with my friend Hedy.

While I was away, I left the box of Easter Eggs and the bags of candy for the kids to stuff with Adam.

Hedy and I walked for about an hour, then before going home, we went to Walgreens to pick up a poster to put on the door. I wanted to let people know we will not have candy this year. It’s bad enough my kids are missing out, I don’t want the bell to ring all night, constantly reminding me how many others are missing out as well. Last year I gave away 7 bags of Costco size bags of candy. That’s a lot of missing out.

While we were in Walgreens, I looked up and spotted Adam, Ben and Sam coming down the escalator!

Apparently after they stuffed the Easter Eggs, there was still a lot of candy so they decided to go to Walgreens to find more. Because, you know, stocking Easter Eggs in October is a thing, right?

Now, I spent $100 on Halloween candy and you just heard that we didn’t have enough eggs to fit it all, didn’t you? So I think it’s safe to say we have enough candy.

So what do you think they got at Walgreens?

Adam, Ben and Sam go to Walgreens on Halloween to find Easter Eggs and leave with Christmas candy!

They got MORE CANDY!!! Not just any candy. Christmas candy. On Halloween. While looking for Easter Eggs.

When I got home I noticed the leftover candy was scattered everywhere. Apparently they had a candy fight with it. And I also discovered under the mounds of candy a bunch of unstuffed eggs, close to 30 of them.

Seriously people. I was only gone an hour.

When I got back Aaron and I made a sign and hung it outside. Sadly we noticed that, unlike last year when it snowed, this year it was perfect trick or treating weather.

For a dinner treat we ordered deep dish pizza. Nothing like a huge gut bomb like deep dish before stuffing yourself with Halloween (or Christmas) candy.

Finally, the Easter Egg Halloween Candy hunt….

For the first time, we did the hunt upstairs. Which made for a lot of new and interesting hiding places.

Also, as a bonus, the kids gravitated to different rooms which kept them from fighting over eggs.

We ended the night with a walk around the neighborhood. We spent some time checking out the Halloween decorations.

But more importantly, Adam wanted to see the moon tonight. It was a rare blue moon. He read the last time this happened was over 70 years ago.

He explained to the kids that blue moon are so rare, that they have an expression for it,

You might say something like, “Pandemics like this are so rare, they happen once in a blue moon.”

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Covid Activities

I spent some time scrolling through previous summer blogs recently. I was amazed just how much we crammed into each day.

Covid has changed all that. No more beaches. No more water parks. No more playdates.

We have gone insular. The activities have gotten smaller.

Most days Adam and I try to get the kids out for some fresh air, sunshine, and activity, but it’s nothing like the adventures we used to have.

Most days it’s just a walk.

Palmisano (Henry) Park
Palmisano (Henry) Park
Swallow Cliff Woods steps
Swallow Cliff Woods
Walking around near Montrose Beach.
Walking around near Montrose Beach.
Montrose Bird Harbor
Northwestern University
Peninsula near Northwestern University
Painted rocks near Northwestern University

Sometimes we go biking.

MacArthur Forest Preserve. Old School loop.
Gravel is tough to ride on. Ben got six staples in his knee that evening.
After a hot day bike riding, we enjoy some Dairy Queen.
Biking By Lane Tech.
Biking the lake front.
Followed by more Dairy Queen!

And when all else fails, I try to channel my inner Jane Fonda and get the boys to workout at home.

Deck workout.

In a lot of ways, I appreciate this new way of being. It’s exhausting to try to top every summer with the next best summer ever. To scour the landscape for new and exciting things to do now that we have grown a year older, are taller, and can do more.

The kids are finally free to be bored. ‘Let your children be bored’ is one of the many pieces of advice I often see floating around the internet by various experts with regards to your children, isn’t it? Up to this point I’ve ignored it.

Although being bored resulted in too much screen time (‘limit screen time’ is another one of those pieces of advice floating around the internet by various experts that I have also ignored), it has also created a lot of creativity and interaction between the kids.

Jack and the twins did this to my hoodie footie.
The hoodie footie has gotten a lot of use this summer…
Pool noodle fight.
Sam’s army men make a comeback.
Sam and Jack hanging out.

Sam does the most with all this free time in the house, leading the charge in costumes and role play games, or just creating on his own. But even Ben, who complains of boredom the most, has started to draw again.

Petoskey Stones from our trip have been moved off the dining room table to make way for Ben’s drawings.
Ben also planted a garden this summer.

School starts soon, with three of the kids remote learning. It will mean less time for boredom for the kids, and less time for me to putz around and finish chores at my leisure.

In preparation for the remote learning, the kids are doing a typing course. The twins are memorizing their times tables as well. When I get their schedules, I will try to plan for some social distancing lessons they can do, like tennis or golf, to keep them active.

But for now, I’m planning on enjoying these last few weeks by cramming in as many books as I can read and binge watching as many shows as I can.

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