Friday, August 21, 2009

Tubing on the Delaware...

Last weekend, we drove up to Frenchtown, NJ, and went tubing on the Delaware River. Not too far from where George Washington crossed the Delaware during Revolutionary War, the Syversons embarked on a white water adventure. I am sure George didn't have as much fun as we did!! We tubed down the river on a 3 hour float that included a stop at the hot dog stand in the river!! The boys thought that was soo cool!! We ate lunch and headed back out, it was great fun for all of us, lots of sun and cool water, not too mention many boys flipping out of their tubes and wrestling each other off of tubes...I didn't say it was civilized fun, did I?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Making Time for Memories...

Yesterday, I was driving home from work, thinking about how the Summer is flying by. So many times when I go to work, maternal guilt overcomes me like a tidal wave. It's amazing that things I never thought of before, I can now feel guilt over because I am working. Anyway, on this particular drive, I was reminded of the hundreds of times this Summer that Gabe has asked to go fishing. For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know we had a pretty huge move this Summer and as you can imagine, have been very busy setting up home in our South Jersey suburb. The really neat thing is, our little suburb has a cute little lake right at the end of our street. Most days the lake is complete with loads of geese, a few small rowboats and little boys fishing. Gabe, of course, has noticed the little boys fishing. He has asked almost daily and so far his parents had failed to deliver. So many other things to do, do I need to list them? I mean, work, groceries, housework, bills, errands, back to school stuff...just listing them is exhausting! So fishing has pretty much been, very close, if not at the bottom, of my list.
When I was a little girl, about 11 or so, we lived in a house right down the street from the park. For some reason, one Summer, I decided I was going to fish. I really am not sure why, maybe I should ask my mother, but no one in our house was anything close to a true "outdoors man". We didn't hunt, fish or camp growing up, I mean we did lots of other fun stuff, but just not rough, outside stuff, with bugs...or dirt. Anyway, I decided I was going to go fishing at the pond in the park at the end of our street. My mom thought it was a fine idea, so one morning I headed out with my spool of fishing line (no pole), a hook, and a few pieces of bread. I sat on this little foot bridge made of wood, and I lowered my line through the slats of wood on the bridge. I caught several "Sunnies" and "Blue gills" and was extremely proud of my success. I had so much fun, I made this a regular part of my Summer days that year and on one particularly successful day, I decided to put all of my fish in a bucket with some water (probably 10 or so "Sunnies"). I carried my bucket all the way home and struggled up the stairs to my front door with my reel, leftover bread, and my bucket of fish. I was met at the door by my mother, who heard me coming. "What do you have there?" she said. "I caught some beautiful fish, mom", I answered, "and I need to get an aquarium to put them in...quick!" I will never forget the gentle smile she gave and the instructions that followed, that ultimately led, of course, to me returning the fish to their home.
This morning, when I got up, I decided to take Gabe fishing. After breakfast, I told the boys we would be taking a fishing trip to the lake down the street. Gabe's eyes lit up immediately. "Really?" he asked, eyes beaming. "Yes", I said, "let's get some bread and see if any of your brothers want to come with." And so we did. Four, of the boys and I headed out and later T joined us. The boys had a great time casting and catching fish in the lake. Rhett even caught a small turtle. I took such joy in helping them and also just enjoying them. It brought me such joy to watch them help each other bait hooks and remove fish. Sometimes their dad would tease them when they acted squeamish about taking the fish off the hook. "Are you really gonna stand there while your mother takes the fish off your hook?" he asked. I don't need to tell you, I didn't get to touch any more fish after that. One fish got particularly fiesty when Aubrey and I were trying to take it off the hook. He jumped back from the fish as it flopped around. This followed with a lot of teasing about the rare "NJ spike fish", a deadly South Jersey breed, we told them. I don't think any of them believed us though.
We headed home as the morning turned to afternoon, and Gabe asked me to promise we would come back after dinner to fish some more. Sure enough, after dinner, he was in the kitchen as I was cleaning up. Fishing pole in hand he said, "Ready Mom?" Just he and I headed out this time, and when we got to the lake, the sun was setting and the ducks and geese were skimming along on the top of the water. My uncle was fishing there too (very seriously), he saw us and asked us why we were carrying bread, "are you hungry?" he chuckled, as he baited his hook with some fancy, big, fake, wormy looking thing. We smiled, and Gabe said "Nope, we're here to catch fish." I baited Gabe's hook and he casted. Long story short...he caught three fish in ten minutes! Suddenly, only Gabe was chuckling. Hmmm....:)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Business...

This picture cracks me up! The story behind it goes something like this...We have moved to the great, over-regulated state of NJ. This means that anything one needs to accomplish that seems simple, will be extremely, ridiculously complicated. For instance, registering 5 kids for school in the public school system. Before we moved here, I readied myself, collecting and organizing documents that I knew would be needed for registering the boys. Birth certificates, immunization records, proof of residency documents, our family tree, our dogs family tree, a stone from Mt. Olympus and a drop of my very own blood. (JK about the blood!) Anyway, all this to say, I thought I was prepared...I was wrong. So, just one of the many hoops I have been jumping through has led me to the pediatrician's office...many times. Each one of these visits have been a funny story all by themselves, but I thought I'd surmise them for you.

The first visit was for Brey. Height and weight first, to which the nurse responded, "Are you sure he's fourteen?" (6'2" and 200lbs.) "Yep, I'm sure, I was there." I responded. Then we go back to a room where he is told to dress down to his boxers and the dr. would be in shortly. He looks at me and rolls his eyes. "Are you serious?" he says to me. I just smiled and told him he should "man up" and dress down. The dr. came in, examined him and told him he needed three shots. He got those, in the midst of multiple adolescent eye rolling episodes, and we were out the door with our file full of needed paperwork for the high school.

Brey had lots of horror stories for his younger brothers. I didn't pay much attention to his tales of horror, and two days later it was Keller's turn. Again, height and weight, and then the "dressing down" This tween also looked to me longingly to save him. When the dr. arrived, he and Keller chatted about bicycle safety and nutrition while I smiled pleasantly. I am sure Keller thought that the conversation might distract the dr. from the actual examination part of the visit, but he was only left disappointed when the dr. asked Keller if he would like me to leave the room. Keller nodded his head, looking at me with puppy dog eyes as if to say, "take me with you!" I left the room and when I returned Keller was preparing for his three shots. After getting his vaccinations, we left the office, paperwork in hand for the middle school.

Keller shared much of the same horror stories with his younger brothers but provided much more detail and exageration for them. Two days later, it was the time for the three youngest to have their physicals. We got in the car and drove to the pediatricians office and when we got out, I noticed much foot dragging on our way through the parking lot. Heads were low, faces were pouted, and the self pity in the air was thick. "What's wrong guys?" I asked. "Why do we have to go to the dr.?" they whined. "Because staying healthy is important" I answered, "and the school says you have too!" I couldn't help but throw in! Aubrey and Rhett walked into the office and sat down, but Gabe, our youngest, grabbed my hand with much urgency, right before we entered, "Mom", he whispered, almost panicked, "Keller says that the dr. is going to check out my Business! I DO NOT want anybody checking out my Business!!" Of course, I became hysterical. This marks the first time I have ever heard the reference "my Business". When we got in the office, I whispered to the three of them, "is that what all this pouting is about? your business???" They reluctantly nodded their heads. "do you know how much 'business' these dr's have checked? this is no big deal!" I said. This was followed by some more "man up" language that I am beginning to get good at:)

Finally in the dr's office, the three boys got this wonderful pediatrician who chatted with them about what it's like to have 5 boys in a family, and what career plans they have. The conversation was both amusing and heartwarming. To hear them talk about their futures was just so neat. Two of the boys said they wanted to be missionaries, Gabe said he wants to be a "crabber". "Oh, have you been crabbing?" the dr. asked. "Yea, once" Gabe responded. "Did you catch any crabs?" the dr. continued. "only one little one that escaped through the net", he answered, "But when I grow up, I'm going to be really good at it!" Pretty funny stuff. The other amusing aspect of the visit was the dr's questions about how we had 5 children. hmmm....
anyway, this was followed by questions about grocery bills, peanut butter, milk, bread, sleeping arrangements, the square footage of our home, and on and on... If you're thinking "what does this have to do with physicals?" you are not alone. Finally, the dr. admitted that he was fascinated with large families since he had been an only child. Oookkayy... Well the answers bills? high. Peanut butter? about a jar a day. Milk? a gallon a day. Bread? a loaf a day. Sleeping arrangements? lots of boys together. Square footage? 1400. All these answers and more may appear on my new reality show...ha ha, JK!!!

In the end, every one was vaccinated, weighed, measured, examined and Business checked. All is well with the Syverson boys and they may even be able to go to school!!!