Little Baby moved to college this week.  This is the view from her dorm:
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This is the view of her dorm:
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This is the most important room in any college-the library-and Little Baby is a library dweller, so she feels that way too!  She is an English major who hopes to be an editor, preferably of videogames, but an editor for sure.
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Brody turned two this week but had his birthday last weekend; Ricky turned four this week and had his birthday this weekend.  Here are all four boys playing on the trampoline before the party began:
After the party I took Brody and Aidan to a farm days celebration since Brody loves animals, but it was mostly tractors and tools and demonstrations about old-time methods and crafts.  So we stopped on the way back at a farm in town where he saw a rabbit and chickens, then stopped at my mother's field to see her cows.  And the best part?  Before we left, he and Aidan got to drive the tractor with my fifth brother, who was haying in the meadow.  Sometimes you just don't have to leave town to have a good time.

Waiting for the Tractor; Are You Sure There's a Tractor out There?  Trust Me, There's a Tractor

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Two Year Old and Six Year Old Drivers

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I took the week off before returning to my regular job as a high school social studies teacher-in the summer I watch the grandsons to both save my big kids money and to spend time with them.  Here is what we did with our week:
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Monday-the ocean with Aidan.  Four hours of boogie boarding and on the two hour ride home, he kept saying, "that was cool, Mommy" and "when can we go to the ocean again?"
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Tuesday-I'm not really clear on this day, though I think we did some school shopping. 

Wednesday-I just couldn't spend a week without the little ones, and Matthew and Aidan get along so well that I asked my daughter if he could spend the day with us.
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Thursday-Brody hung out with Aidan and me fand since he cannot stand to be next door to "the farm" (Great Grammie's house) and not go there, we went.  We saw the cows, the piggies, and even picked some of my tomatoes on the way.  Aidan eats them like apples, so Brody tried that as well, only to say, "It's not very tasty, Grammie," and give it back to me.
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Ricky and I had two summers alone together before Aidan was adopted and I know that sometimes he and I both miss that alone time.  So I asked my daughter if I could take him out on Thursday afternoon.  He was so excited that he didn't nap at daycare.  We went first to mini golfing (see the Pirate booty he got, above) and then to a farm where he chased a rooster and wanted my help.  I told him that I have chased enough chickens in my time and asked if he knew what that rooster was going to do to him if he caught it?  We then had a big cup of chocolate milk before leaving the farm.  But do you know what he really wanted to do with our afternoon together?  Just come to my house.  So we came home and he and Aidan played and he was happy.
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So on Friday Little Baby, Aidan and I went back for more mini-golfing.

Saturday was the annual fundraiser for my nephew's memorial scholarship.
Sunday was Brody's second birthday party.

It is raining-Hallelujah!  The well has been dry for almost two months.  I'm sick of doing one load of dishes a week and two loads of laundry a week and only one or two of....everything else!
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Now I have five days of in-service training, meetings, a little bit of time allowed for me to actually work in my room and get ready (my room is used all summer and then at the very end, maintenance on that end of the building is done, so there is no way to get in and get ready ahead of time).  Wednesday I'll be skipping the day, though; Little Baby will be off to Vermont for college.  So Golden Baby went to Maine and Pretty Baby went to Massachusetts, and Little Baby will go to Vermont.  When you are accepted there, at least at her school, the governor sends a letter to you and your parents along with a Vermont guide, travel map, and information about the state.  I think it's really nice.  Maybe Aidan will go to college in Quebec? 
 
 
This week I will actually be on vacation.  The grandsons will return to daycare full-time and Aidan and I will have five days, more or less, for the two of us, before I go back to work next Monday.
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I will miss the brothers, of course, especially since the younger one has just learned to enjoy coming to our house and being away from his mumma.  He is a true outdoor guy and would spend every minute, except for lunch and freeze-pop breaks, outside.  Outside, outside, outside is, in fact, his favorite refrain.
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He and Aidan really enjoyed one another's company on the days that it was just the two of them.  Here they are, just like grown men, hanging out in their comfy chairs in the garage, having a drink and listening to music.
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Ricky and Aidan, meanwhile, are just like brothers/cousins/uncles and nephews are when they are close in age.  Every day they have an argument and a crying jag.  Then every day they are the best of buddies for the remainder of the day.
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And then there is their handsome little cousin, who comes once a week.  He and Ricky are actually great playmates.  They are alike in most of the ways that count-smart, quiet, sweet-and different enough that they usually don't pose a threat to one another in terms of affection or toys.
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This past week Mom went to the oncologist to say that she does not want any more chemotherapy.  She did two rounds of 21 days at 50% dose and didn't like it.  She felt that it stole some summer days from her because of the restrictions on exposure and activities and this just after she had recovered some strength following the placement of a stint in her intestine.  She had never wanted chemo anyway; she only tried it because some of us asked her to give it a try.  So she won't be doing it any longer.  Seven of us siblings and a nephew went to her appointment with her so that the doctor would know that we support whatever she chooses and so that we could ask questions.  The time left to her is uncertain, as it always is with cancer, but she probably won't be enjoying next summer with us.  Here is a picture of her enjoying her annual birthday hike to the top of the mountain, back in 1987:
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There is no news on the adoption front.  G's medical has been sent to China to have them pre-approve it and we are waiting for the response to that.  We have been waiting three weeks; I contact the agency each Monday to ask if there is any word yet, so I will ask again tomorrow.
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My little sister and I used to have pen-pals through The Big Blue Marble, a Saturday morning program advertised between cartoons.  She has been writing to her pen-pal for 30 years now.  AnnMarie, the other "girl", came up to be in my sister's wedding in the 1990s with her husband and daughter; her daughter Aaliyah and Little Baby were the flower girls-so cute because Aaliyah was dark-hair, eyes, skin, while Little Baby was fair with very blond hair and gray eyes. 

My sister and her family went to Trinidad last year and spent a couple of weeks with them.  Now the family is here again, this time with their son who had not been born at their last visit.  Aaliyah is visiting colleges-she is entering her senior year of high school in the fall-and so she and Little Baby are off today in Massachusetts, tomorrow to the mall.

Yesterday they stopped at our house and Ricky, who is not comfortable with strangers, could not spend enough time on Aaliyah's lap.  He told her his whole life story and didn't want her to leave.  It was pretty mutual; love at first sight.
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Here in central NH we pack as much living as we can into the time we have to call summer, since it's such a short season.  Sometimes it doesn't really get started, weather-wise, until after the 4th of July; other years, like this, it starts earlier.  Here are the boys enjoying summer.
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Brody, at 22 months, working very hard to read.  Below, Aidan is ready to go see Avatar with Pretty Baby.  The two of them have been watching the cartoon for a long time-remember that Aidan was Aang for Halloween?-many things were different in the movie from the show.  But a promise is a promise-he loved the movie!

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Matthew pumping iron (wood) at the 4th of July parade.

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Aidan and a buddy checking out party favors at his grandparents' cook-out.

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Had to have the silly bandz (don't know if I spelled it right)-notice the smaller ones are on his fingers.

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All three grandsons at the pool.

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This one does not love swimming, especially if the water is deep or if people are splashing.

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First it was the beach with LB, PB, her sons, Aidan and me. 
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Then it was Storyland with all four of our children, our daughter in-law, and three grandsons. 
G wasn't there this time, though he does like that kind of thing.  He's busy getting an antique stock car ready for a show next weekend.
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Monday was my last day of school until August.  Aidan got out last Thursday.  This summer I will have Brody every Tuesday, Ricky and Matthew Monday through Thursday, and Aidan will go to summer school for five weeks (half-days) Monday through Thursday beginning next week.  Here are some early shots of summer:
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Aidan picked flowers for me today; this is his first bouquet for his Mommy, so it's very special.  This afternoon I went to check on what he was doing, and found him very busy making a book for Daddy.
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Here is what the book, called All About Daddy, says:
I work on the race car
I smile at Aidan
I sleep with the dog
I go to the store
I eat eggs
I play with Aidan
I play fetch with the dog
I eat bacon
I work every day
I watch the Red Sox

Remember, this from a child who has only been in America since October of 2008 and knew no English beforehand.  He just turned six in April.  This is amazing!  Our first daughter could not write one sentence until June of her first grade year, and she had been to both preschool and kindergarten and English was her first language.  She is certainly no slouch academically-she definitely caught up-but Aidan is really very bright.
 
 
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I am addicted to Diet Coke.  I used to drink TaB, and made the switch to Diet Coke about 13 years ago by alternating one TaB, one Diet Coke, until I made the transition.  I have tried many times to give the Diet Coke up and have even asked doctors for help.  One said to reduce my intake by 1/2 can a day until I was done with it-any addict can tell you that that works for only a few people.  One said to have a small amount each morning, never again during the day, and no other source of caffeine during the day (no problem-I don't drink anything else except water and milk; but I don't like to drink soda in the morning).  So I'm going cold turkey this week.  The cravings and headaches might be happening, but as luck would have it, I've got a double ear infection, sinus infection, and strep throat, so if I'm sick from Diet Coke withdrawal, I wouldn't know it; a blessing in disguise.