Of course, we don’t know if Halloween is Salem’s actual birthday, but that’s when we decided it would be a few years ago when he came to our family. If a black cat’s birthday isn’t on Halloween, then it should be changed so it is.
Here is Jeremy taking a break from school, listening to A Wrinkle in Time, with Salem tucked in at his side.
And here he is begging me to finish my Literary Theory outline so we can hurry up and go to sleep. My late-night writing is highly inconvenient. I hope Halloween isn’t a total washout, but there’s a chance we won’t make it outside at all due to rain. Still, we’ll be spending the evening with friends, which is better than trick-or-treating anyway. I’ll post pictures tomorrow.
When Jeremy needs a quick mental break from school, this is where he goes:
He loves animals, especially ours, so when he needs to check out of history or math, he checks in with Major and Salem. This trio, in such close and calm proximity, happens on a very rare occasion (which is why I snapped the photo). It looks like Jeremy is sad, but rest assured, he is not. He’s at peace. I’m nurturing every ounce of his love for animals because I wholeheartedly believed we could be raising a zoologist.
Jeremy turns 10 on Sunday. He’s been talking about turning 10 since he was eight, so it’s going to be a BIG day for him. We have a few treats planned but we’ve long since abandoned the birthday party route. A few years ago, we realized that spending time with our boys left a bigger impression on them and created meaningful memories for all of us when we focused on one or two activities rather than a two-hour party of sugar and screaming. We had those parties in their earliest years, and they were a hoot, but now we keep it simple. They choose their meals, they choose a big activity (bowling? zoo? aquarium?), and we put all of our attention on keeping attitudes light. Sometimes other friends and family are involved, sometimes it’s just the four of us.
For Jeremy’s birthday last year, Chuck took him to his first Tennessee football game and we bought him a new bike. This year, he’s not sure what to expect but he knows that on Sunday he will be king for a day.
My firstborn is turning 10. Shake me out of this dream because it does not seem real.
Despite our five-month-long effort to prepare the backyard for a big bash celebrating my father-in-law’s 70th birthday, we spent the entire evening inside on account of rain.
Of course it rained!
Yet, there is still much to be grateful for. Above all, Bill was surprised by the event and had a wonderful evening, which was the point. And even though we were not able to enjoy our backyard for the party, there will be other opportunities for that and the work needed to be done anyway.
Do you remember the sand pit? The previous owners of our house left an empty space where they used to have an above-ground pool.
Today, you would not have known such a wreck had existed. Though we had help from landscapers, let me brag on Chuck for building that wooden retaining wall entirely on his own.
There will be other parties and gatherings to enjoy in this space, but it wasn’t meant to be Saturday night. Instead, we sang Happy Birthday and socialized inside the house, which was fine in the end.
Actually, there was one in the family who enjoyed the patio Saturday night, yet he was small enough to fit under the eave and stay dry.
But not all at once.
Our week with Jacob ended with a rainy Fourth of July Hurry-Up-and-Light-the-Sparklers extravaganza. The weather was dreadfully wet, but we managed to squeak out a quickie-canoe trip on the river on Wednesday and one more swim on Thursday before storms forced us inside for the rest of the day.
Then we swam to Dayton, Ohio, to swap Jacob for Jeremy, and swam back to our house Saturday evening. I’m so over the rain and I miss Jacob. Whether he realizes it or not, the true gift of this week was having my 12-year-old nephew all to myself.
He’s a great kiddo.
At the end of the week I asked Jacob to rank his favorite things from his time in Tennessee. No. 1 was time spent in the river, which I expected. No. 2, however, was a pleasant surprise. He said he really enjoyed the pets. That makes sense, though, since he and Salem were best buds every night during movie time. (Major was mostly tolerable, which is pretty good considering…) In third place, for those wondering, was all the food he enjoyed eating with his non-vegetarian aunt Jennie. We ate well and often. Nature and food = Tennessee.