Updates from the Farm

It has been almost five months since I last sat down to write. Someone asked me about the blog a few weeks back and I had to pause for just one wild moment as stories and images flickered through my memory. It feels like a lifetime has passed.

So here are the significant events from the last handful of months:

Lily almost went into anaphylactic shock after consuming a Macadamia nut the day after school let out. Our summer was spent reading the backs of food labels, making certain there were no traces of tree nuts because while she is only potentially allergic to a few of them, the one would almost certainly kill her if she did not administer her medicine after an exposure. I was reprimanded by the allergist about this and he did not seem amused when I explained that the gas station apparently doesn't sell epinephrine. We are getting along dandily.

We inherited 7 kittens....and the best part about it is that no one really thought much about me owning several dozen chickens but when told we have 7 kittens in our attic now, they look at me like I have lost my mind. So, here's a little hint guys: it's not the kittens that put me over the edge! But truly, they are the cutest things. Now a bit more adolescent-like, they each mimic the personality of the owner who claimed them. Liam's cat, for instance, is the friendliest of them all, preferring companionship over things like eating....he has the biggest, happiest purr. Solomon's cat, on the other hand, refuses to follow social norms, has pulled off and hid two collars now and is at once, loving and cuddly and alpha and stubborn. Hmmm. 

While Kurt toured Italy with Aidan for a few weeks, the rest of the kids and I took a trip down to Florida. We all had a blast, it was great to be home and for the first time in a long time, I left with the  urge to just stay a while longer....and by longer I mean I spent a week looking at houses on Zillow, just to see what would be in our price range, you know, just in case. It would be hard to give up my make believe farm-life, but I am pretty sure I would get over it. (Or perhaps hide a few chickens out back.....with the kittens.....)

When we got back to PA, Marco came to stay with us. (He is the 13 year old Italian cousin Kurt brought home.....never question your spouse's souvenir choices....unless you have to feed them and keep them alive....) A month with Marco deserves it's own post but for now let's just say, there was never a dull moment.....and while we loved having him, I might have been okay with just one or two dull moments!!

Soccer started back up and then school and then Solomon got suspended because of a pocket knife (again, he probably deserves his own post....shoot, he probably needs his own blog!) and then Halloween came and went and now it is truly smack dab in the middle of fall and everything I am juggling seems suspended in time and space, ready to either fill us up or overwhelm us into submission. I guess we will have to wait and see. But, I hope your home is enjoying this season, though fleeting and indecisive in nature. I am grateful we have it to share, if only for a little while.


Most Enthusiastic Baseball Player Ever to Walk the Earth

Steele: I want Rudy to dress in my place Coach. He deserves it. 
Dan Devine: [Laughs] Don't be ridiculous, Georgia Tech is one of the top offense teams in the country. You are an All-American and our Captain, act like it!
Steel: I believe I am. [Lays down his jersey on Devine's desk and walks out]


Players and Fans: Ru-dy, Ru-dy, Ru-dy!
(Insert viewer's heart ripping from their chest and, oh, the tears.)


If you know the movie, you know the scene. You know how those collegiate athletes, one by one, walked into the office of their Notre Dame coach and laid their jerseys down, asking him to let Rudy take their place in the last game of the season. You know how, eventually, the coach confirms Rudy's spot to dress for the game and run out on the field. You know the swell of emotion and uncontrollable tears of joy that the movie elicits from there until the end.....

We watch the movie Rudy a lot. Well, at least we did before it went missing. And we remind our kids of the determination that Rudy possessed, the belief in his ability to accomplish his dream and meet that goal of running onto the field for a game that he never gave up on.

In our family, Liam is our Rudy. Substitute little league baseball for college football and far less athleticism and size and you have our little Liam. He is the most enthusiastic baseball player that ever walked the earth. Grinning from ear to ear as he plays, he cheers (often for himself!), he gets passionately mad (sometimes) when he strikes out and he evokes joy and happiness from not only our team's parents but from the parents of every team we play. He is the only kid that the team shouts for when headed up to bat.

"Li-am, Li-am, Li-am!"

The kids genuinely want to see him succeed and urge him forward, even when he goes a full season without ever hitting a ball. He loves the game and when he is at home, his glove is on, ball in hand, as he pretends to play in our living room, commentating in a hushed whisper the play by play in his imagination. And while he will likely never be an All-Star, he doesn't let his developmental delays and Autism get in the way of playing his favorite game on earth with the hopes of playing forever.

So, it is understandable that while I watched the last few minutes of baseball camp yesterday, the part where they gave out awards, that I would feel an immense pang of sadness and heart break. The truth is, Liam has made huge strides. He has gone from not being able to even throw a ball, much less catch one, to actually making plays ever so often; fielding the ball and even throwing kids out. He has gone from being scared of even standing in the batters box, to actually batting with a fair amount of ease, sometimes even getting on base. And ever so often, he scores a run. And it makes his entire week.

As I stood there though, listening as they called up the the fourth place and third place and second place and first place winners for each age group, I felt such pain in my heart. Liam would likely never be one of those kids. If only the world gave awards for enthusiasm and joy.

But as the ceremony was coming to an end, the high school baseball coach leading the camp, paused and then very deliberately spoke about a player who had been knocked out at the very beginning of the competition but who had been unfazed, cheering every one else on, enthusiastically encouraging each player, applauding and boosting up every one of his teammates as if he, himself, were the one about to win. And for this, the Camper of the Week award goes to Liam Wolf.

The kids went wild! They screamed and cheered loudest of all for the smallest among them. And then chanted:


(Insert mom's heart ripping from her chest and oh, the tears....)

He might not make it to the World Series, but he has certainly stolen this crowd. And while the world doesn't often reward enthusiasm, his enthusiasm will undoubtably reward the world.


Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns! 

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons!

I got a voicemail yesterday:

"Mrs. Wolf, this is the principal from the Primary Center. I had Solomon in my office just now and apparently in lunch he was throwing food at kids in the cafeteria and uh, in Music they are singing the song, um, Hot Cross Buns so at lunch he was standing up, singing that song and smacking his bottom while he, ha ha, was doing it and then pretending to shoot the kids with his finger....."

Imagine getting that voicemail, one in which, not even the principal can get through without cracking up, and then trying to reprimand the camouflage laden seven year old sitting in your car as you wait for the bus to arrive:

"Solomon, you cannot stand up on the table in lunch and smack your bottom while singing Hot Cross Buns....it isn't acceptable behavior." (Said no one with a straight face ever!)

Solomon did his darndest to keep a serious tone as he replied, "Ok, I know, Mom" and then burst out laughing as he almost choked on his words, "BUT IT WAS SUPER FUNNY!"

And I am sure it was. But, as I explained to him after his genuine, uncontrollable and entirely too infectious belly laugh subsided, just because something is funny does not make it right. As Steve Martin so wisely put it in the movie Cheaper by the Dozen, some things are "Funny, but WRONG!"

Parenting this one might very well be a long and laborious journey. And as my bestie down the street so lovingly pointed out, perhaps I need to mentally prep myself for his future endeavors because if the military thing doesn't work out, he might become an aspiring Chippendale performer....

Hey, at least he has options, right?


Life Without Focus

"Hey Mom," Lily said, on a car ride home from soccer one day. "Can I get a blow torch?"

Snapping out of my daydreaming, "Wait, what? Uh, no.....no you most definitely cannot."

"Oh darn," she said, as if she half expected me to say yes.


From the title, you might think I am going to go into a rant about living a life without purpose or meaning; perhaps complaining about the black hole that is being a stay at home wife and mother (and for the record, whoever named it "stay at home" mom/parent, never had kids....at least not 5 of them because there are many days I WISH I could just stay at home!)

But no, today is literally about focus, or the lack there of; about how I turn my phone on to look at my calendar to see what the day holds, get distracted by the idea that maybe if I had a better organizational system things would run more smoothly, so I go into the app store to see what kinds of apps they have for that and I miss waking the kids up on time (or did I wake them and they didn't actually get out of bed? That must be it.) So, at least one kid is late to school but the others hurry to get ready and actually walk to the bus stop as if they do it all the time (first time this year?) and then I blink twice and it's 2:00 and time to pick up kids and start round two and whoa! What happened to the day?

I can waste time like I get paid for it. Come to think of it, I wish there was a job for that: Professional Incessant Time Annilater (my husband would call it a PITA for short 😂) because not only could I work from home, no training necessary, but I would surely make a GAZILLION dollars (assuming there is commission on just how much doesn't get finished) and be the employee of the year! I told my friend the other day that no matter how many houses we have lived in, they have all been starter homes. Every house is a starter home for us because there are always five thousand projects started, but never finished. (That's an approximation of course, could be more....) What can I say? I'm a starter, an ideas person.....not always a follow-througher.....

My world is a buzz of business without accomplishment. There are continuous cycles of dishes, and laundry, and pets and overwhelming stacks of papers. (My family alone has taken out at least one full rainforest.) And then there is the wandering mind that goes from each thing, like a bee flitting around flowers, consuming time, space, life. Sometimes, on a good day, I might make time to breathe. Sometimes.

And sometimes it is overwhelming (unless you are my spouse, then it is ALWAYS overwhelming). Sometimes I liken it to the life of a flea, making huge leaps from one random animal (project) to the next, looking for a choice place to settle down, lay down some roots, really dig in, but eventually, hopping dramatically on to the next thing that catches my fancy.

Hey look! New chore....new project.....new entire life path idea! Let's go try THAT thing instead!


Some of you are reading this and shaking your head (possibly in scorn and judgement). You don't understand how someone can choose to live like that, disorganized, scattered, flying a million miles per hour without a particular destination in mind. (Pat yourself on the back. You are probably a really good adult. Maybe you even have a fantastic career, well behaved and responsible kids, and are on top of everything your life touches. Success is your middle name. Well done, Super Adult.)

But some of you get it, possibly too well. Some of you recognize the plight as similar to your own. Some of you see it as the cross you carry....others maybe even find a little peace in the absurd chaos. There is comfort knowing life is a flurry of activity and whether you control it all or not, the end is the same for all of us. (Judge THAT Super Adult!.....But go ahead and feel good about yourself that you didn't just research therapeutic rabbit wheelchairs for the last hour....)

Maybe Lily is on to something.....a blowtorch might make some things a lot easier.

Here's hoping you have a wildly productive day.....or perhaps a wild day that adds just a little bit of unADULTerated joy.