A Little of This and That in July

Aug 8, 2021

Looking back over July, I wish I would have pulled out my camera a bit more frequently. We didn't have much that was especially notable to document, but our regular life was pretty sweet, and I feel like we totally embraced the concept of "lazy days of summer." Our days were filled with things like . . . 

Shooting . . . off rockets. Our Fourth of July was rather underwhelming. No parades (because of crowds), no family parties (same reason), and no fireworks (because of the drought). I probably could have taken the many free hours to inspire the boys with tales of patriotic bravery, but I failed. In the end, Mike's sister saved our boredom by inviting us over for ice cream. And then the next morning, we made and launched paper rockets with some friends. And that seemed like enough for this year.

Attending . . . a diving class. One of Bradley's cousins began diving in June and recommended it to him. He was very interested and ended up doing the July session with her. In just the course of a month, he learned several dives, different approaches, and many techniques. I was most nervous watching Bradley do a backwards falling dive off of the three-meter, but luckily, he doesn't let fears inhibit him. The month ended with a little practice meet where everyone did several dives and were judged on their execution. (Somehow I ended up being the second judge along with the coach, even though I have no qualifications or experience whatsoever.) This diving class was perfect timing for the Olympics since it is always more fun to watch a sport when you have at least a little experience in it, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching all of the diving events. 

Spending . . . a few days at the cabin. One of my kids' main wishes for this summer was to go to the cabin. Luckily, Mike's parents spent most of July there and invited the boys to come stay with them for a few days. Aaron couldn't stay for the duration of the time for medical reasons, but we all spent the day there when we dropped off the other boys and again when we picked them up. They spent their time playing games, shooting BB guns, hunting for bugs, going on hikes, and playing in the stream. It was a good time all around (except maybe for Mike's parents who probably were grateful for the peace and quiet that came when they were finally all gone!). 

Buying . . . a suburban. Here's a little known fact about Mike: he loves searching for a good deal on a used car. So when I mentioned a couple of months ago that it might be nice to have a vehicle with a little more room for future road trips, he was happy to have something to look for in the classifieds. And after looking at and driving a bunch of them, he finally found one that was exactly what he wanted. Clark was thrilled about the sun roof ("I've always wanted one of these!!"), but other than that, it's nothing to get too excited about. It's fifteen years old, which is pretty typical of the vehicles Mike decides to buy. He just has no interest in new cars at all.  

Running . . .  around with friends. We moved right at the beginning of the pandemic last year. Clark was used to playing with a posse of friends every afternoon, but he didn't know anyone when we moved, and it wasn't a great time to be knocking on doors, inviting others to play. But all that has changed this summer. There are three other second graders right across the street from us, and finally, after more than a year of very little social time, Clark is on the move again, rounding up his friends every day for all kinds of adventures. Luckily, they've been able to play outside so I don't have to worry as much about Covid, and I'm so happy that my little extroverted child has an outlet once again for all of his social energy.

Playing . . . games with friends. While Clark has been running around the neighborhood, the older boys have been playing board and card games on the porch with our neighbors. It's unfortunate the temps haven't been a little cooler, but if they do it when the porch is shaded, it isn't too bad. They've been having great fun and have been able to share some of their favorite games as well as learn new ones. 

Having . . . a visitor at the pool. One day, Clark, Ian, and I were at our neighborhood pool. We pretty much had the pool to ourselves . . . except for a duck who thought the water was just as nice and inviting as we did. The lifeguards did everything they could to get the duck to leave, but even though he responded to their chase by flying around, he always landed back in the water. They eventually gave up, and the duck and swimmers shared the facilities for the afternoon. Clark thought it was pretty much the best day ever at the pool. 

Resurrecting . . . Bodie. You might remember that Clark received a beta fish for Christmas. He has loved that little fish and has cared for it to the best of his ability. Unfortunately, he's not really capable of cleaning the tank by himself, so a few weeks ago he was badgering Mike to clean it because it had been awhile and there was some buildup. It wasn't a high priority for Mike, so more days went by. Then Clark noticed that Bodie's fin was beginning to turn white. He freaked out. He was convinced that Bodie was sick. Mike brushed him off, saying that Bodie was fine, but Clark, ever the persistent one, eventually got Mike to look it up, and sure enough, discoloration on a beta is indicative of "fin rot." Sounds pleasant, right? By the time we found this out, it was too late to go to the store and get the medicine to treat it, and in the meantime, Bodie seemed to be fading fast. He was hardly moving at all and even went up into the filter, presumably to die. Clark was beside himself (until Mike promised to buy him a new fish, and then the possibility of something new and shiny totally distracted him--he's a rather fair weather friend). But miraculously, Bodie hung on until we could get the medicine, and within a few days, he seemed to be doing much better. Crisis averted . . . for now. 

Raising . . . another praying mantis. After the drama of last month, I thought we were done with any praying mantis for a good long while. But then Max found one on our kitchen window, and he couldn't let such a golden opportunity pass by. This one was a little bigger than the other ones he tried to keep, and consequently, she has been thriving. Max named her Patience, and he has been feeding her a variety of bugs every day. He loves watching her be as still as stone until she snatches her unsuspecting prey. 

Taking . . . a morning walk. After months of running religiously (either outside or on the treadmill), I had a mini-revelation: I don't like running. And since I've been dedicated to it for quite some time, it's safe to say I probably will never like it. When I run, I have to find something to distract myself the whole time: if I'm on the treadmill, a super engaging show; and if I'm running outside, some soul-pumping music. But one morning, I had a little chat with myself. I realized that the only reason I was running was for a little bit of exercise every day (I was a strict 20-minutes/2-miles kind of runner). I had no ambitions of running a marathon or toning my body or anything like that. So really, walking would give me the same benefits I was looking for, except that I would have the added benefit of being able to stay present in the moment instead of trying to escape for twenty minutes. So it would be not only physically healthy, but mentally as well. I switched to a 30-minute walk instead of a 20-minute run, and I love it so much. I don't bring my headphones. Instead I let my thoughts wander--sometimes to profound places, sometimes to trivial. I pay attention to the feeling of the rising sun on my back, the sound of birds in the trees, the beauty of our neighborhood. I have a favorite game of choosing one thing I love from every yard that I pass. Sometimes I focus in on what I can hear: shoes on pavement, wind in trees, bees buzzing, crickets chirping and then stopping as soon as I get too close. Basically, I am in love with this way of getting out and moving my body, and I'm so glad I gave myself permission to let go of what I thought I should be doing and trading it for something that fills me up in a real way. 

Watching . . . ALL of the Olympics. And that's not really an exaggeration. From opening to closing ceremonies, we watched every event we could find. We loved watching skateboarding, surfing, and sports climbing debut for the first time. We were so happy to see one of our favorite swimmers, Katie Ledecky, capture the gold again. We loved the tears from Caleb Dressel, Tom Daley's knitting in the stands, and the quiet victory of Sydney McLaughlin. The acts of sportsmanship and teamwork were inspiring. I basically gave my kids free rein for the entire two weeks. As soon as their jobs were done, they could watch as much Olympic-coverage as they wanted. And they watched a lot. It was just so much fun, and we're all looking forward to the Winter Olympics in just six months.

Holding . . . our family book club. This is our fourth summer of doing a book club as a family. It's always a bit tricky to find a book that Clark will be able to read and understand but that will still be interesting to Aaron and Mike. This year I landed on a good one: When Stars are Scattered by Omar Mohamed and Victoria Jamieson. Because of the graphic novel format, it was very accessible to Clark, but the content about two brothers growing up in a refugee camp in Kenya was thought-provoking and inspiring to all of us. We had a good discussion, but I'm not too naive to realize that my kids are really just in it for the food. 

Losing . . . my enthusiasm for knitting, and I think I know why. I started a blanket, which I was initially excited about, but after a couple of inches, I just wasn't happy with the way it was looking. I've still been working on it, but definitely not every day and only when I don't have something else to work on. I still might frog the whole thing ("frog" is knitting lingo for "unravel it"). Besides the blanket, I was also working on two little items to give as baby gifts. The process of knitting them wasn't horrible, but the finished objects left me dissatisfied. I can't tell if they're cute or not. Having two "meh" projects has just zapped my knitting energy. Just like slogging through a book that isn't enjoyable, I think maybe I've learned my lesson with not pushing through a project that isn't making me excited.

Meeting . . . all of the new babies. We had three babies born in our families within a three-week span, and it's just the best. There's nothing like holding a new baby. Clark has been especially obsessed. He would hold any one of them all day if he had the chance. 

Gathering . . . ideas for our yard. Since moving into our house over a year ago, we (mostly Mike) have done a lot of work on our yard. But there is still so much that needs to be done. We held off for most of the summer because of the drought, but we're trying to make some plans so we can maximize our time in the fall. One Saturday, we went to the Conservation Garden Park, which has a bunch of layouts and designs for appropriate plants and water conservation in Utah's climate. It was super helpful. 

Celebrating . . . Aaron's 13th birthday! Every time I think about him being thirteen, I'm like, "Wait . . . what?!" But he sure is a nice teenager so far. He received all sorts of fun presents, including his own ukulele (he was borrowing mine while doing lessons with my dad this summer). Mike borrowed a go-cart from a friend and set up a course in a parking lot. The boys timed themselves on the course and raced it over and over for faster times. When Mike asked Aaron what he wanted to eat on his birthday, the only thing he could think of was bacon, so Mike creatively included bacon in every meal (except for dessert,  which was cherry pie and vanilla ice cream because Aaron doesn't like cake). 

I have to admit I was pretty sad to see July come to a close. It was a good month, and summer has gone by too fast. 

1 comment:

  1. Here's just a bunch of reactions to your post:
    1)I love your family photo at the beginning of this post. What a good looking family.
    2)That is so funny that you were one of the judges at the diving event. Way to go. I think I would have been way too nervous to do it.
    3)Ian is so cute!!!
    4)I was surprised that you've been running because I know how much you dislike it. I'm glad you've switched to something more enjoyable and less tormenting. Your 30-minute walk sounds absolutely lovely.
    5)Family book club...sounds fun! I want to try that out with our kids next summer. Our kids have spent the summer listening to Harry Potter. They're about 1/3 through book seven.
    6)The more I read about Clark, the more I love that kid.
    7)Can't believe Aaron is a teenager!!!
    Loved reading this post. Glad you had a wonderful summer.
    -Beth Inouye


Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground