A Little of This and That in August

Sep 12, 2021

August is not my favorite month of summer--usually because it feels like we get prematurely cut off by school (which was certainly the case this year). But there was plenty to do, and we spent our time in a variety of ways, namely . . . 

Participating . . . in a non-traditional water balloon fight. One of Mike's sisters dropped off 100 water balloons to celebrate Aaron reaching Day +100. The boys launched them at each other from the balcony down to the tramp. It made the balloons last longer and was more fun than just running around the yard. 

Learning . . . how to make cookies. One of Clark's summer goals was to learn how to bake cookies. As the summer drew to a close, I was feeling guilty that I hadn't yet helped him with this goal. And then I had the genius thought to let Max take charge of it, which turned out to be a much better plan. Max was so patient and kind and happily shared all of his years of baking wisdom and expertise. Clark felt proud and successful, and the results were delicious. 

Watching . . . shooting stars. On a clear night in the middle of the month, we drove away from the city lights so that we could have a clear view of the night sky. We went during one of the peak nights of the Perseid meteor shower, and we were not disappointed. All of us (except Ian) spotted multiple shooting stars. I saw a long and brilliant one streak across the horizon, and it was especially memorable. But even if we hadn't seen a single shooting star, the drive into the mountains would have still been worth it--the night sky was breathtaking. You forget how vast and magnificent it is when it is hidden by so many lights. It seemed like a truly perfect and magical evening . . . until the drive home. We got back onto the twisting mountain road, and after a few minutes, I heard some retching in the back. Ian, who is prone to motion sickness, had thrown up all over himself. Usually, he would have been aware of it enough to give us a warning, but it was so late that he was actually half asleep and didn't realize what was happening. That put a damper on things, but I was just grateful it had happened on the way home instead of the way there.

Saying . . . goodbye to his central line. Aaron's broviac was in heavy use from March to July, but he finally didn't need it anymore. The homecare nurse came over for one last dressing change the day before it was removed, which was probably unnecessary, but we wanted to say goodbye. I should have kept track of how many hours that line put in for Aaron. It would have been in the hundreds for sure, maybe even more. 

Holding . . . our breath due to intense smoke. One morning, we were outside doing yard work. It was a beautiful day, but a sudden wind came up, and as we looked out across the valley, we noticed smoke rolling in from California. Within forty-five minutes, it had reached us and entirely covered up our mountains. It was surreal and felt like some kind of apocalyptic event. The air quality was reported to be the worst in the world, and we didn't dare go outside. We continued to experience smoky air off and on throughout the rest of the month.

Soaking . . . up torrential rains. After months of severe drought, August delivered. Over the course of three days, our area received 2.8 inches. This amount of rain is unheard of around here. It just rained and rained--sometimes slowing to a drizzle, other times pouring buckets. Unfortunately, due to a clogged rain gutter, we did have some flooding at our rental house, but Mike was able to get everything suctioned and dried out. On the second day of rain, a lot of smoke came with it, which was the weirdest combination. We didn't get that nice, clean air scent, but instead felt stifled by the smell of smoke. But all in all, I think the rain did more good than harm, and you just can't beat the soothing sound of falling rain (one of my favorites!). 

Trying . . . out a few Olympic sports. While we were still heavily invested in the Olympics, Mike borrowed a shot put, javelin, and discus from a friend, and the boys tried throwing them. It was harder than it looked and definitely gave them an appreciation for the skills of trained athletes.

Losing . . . his first tooth. Just a few weeks ago, Clark said, "I wish I could have a loose tooth." I told him not to get his hopes up since most of our kids seem to have very slow tooth genes--slow to come in and slow to fall out. But then, not very long after that, he suddenly had one that was loose, and he couldn't have been more thrilled. He wiggled it obsessively, and within just a few hours, it was barely hanging on. Mike gave it a quick tug, and it was out. Clark told us that one of his friends has a tooth fairy named Fairy Ann Twinkle Toes, so he decided to write a note to ask the name of our tooth fairy. In our house, the tooth fairy plays a very minor roll. Money gets left under the boys' pillows (sometimes, if the tooth fairy remembers), but there isn't any show or fanfare whatsoever. But still, it seemed like his note deserved a response. The next morning, Clark found a dollar under his pillow along with a tooth shaped paper that said, "My name is Gurb." This name made me laugh so hard, I can't even tell you. I think it fits our forgetful, neglectful tooth fairy. 

Spending . . . a few days at the pool. Clark and Ian loved the pool more than the other boys this summer, so it was often just the three of us there. As the summer waned, so did the crowds, which was nice. Ian gained a lot of confidence in the water this year. He is quite a bit more timid than the other boys were at his age, so he always stayed close to the steps but he was usually without a floatie. 

Reclaiming . . . my knitting passion. Turns out all I had to do was go spend a couple hundred dollars at the yarn store, and it was back in full force. I don't have anything to show yet because my current projects are big and will take several weeks/months to finish, but I'm going strong again. 

Starting . . . school. The first day of school began early this year (August 16th), and none of us were ready for it, especially since we were trying to get things figured out with Aaron. Luckily, everything has worked out, and everyone has settled into the new routine (although Aaron (eighth grade) absolutely hates doing school virtually, so the sooner we can get him in-person, the better). Maxwell is in sixth grade and started junior high this year. He is not a fan of change, so it was a big leap for him, but I think he actually likes rotating through classes and teachers. Most of his closest friends are in his classes with him, so that helps, too. He has also become our little runner for Aaron and spends Friday afternoons dropping off all of Aaron's assignments to his teachers and picking up new ones for the coming week. Bradley (fourth grade) and Clark (second grade) had no reservations about going back to school; they love their teachers and especially like being back with their friends; I have been pleasantly surprised with the level of mask wearing at the elementary school. Both Bradley's and Clark's classes are about 95% masked. And then there's Ian . . . still waiting for preschool to start. I will never understand why preschool starts so much later--these are the kids who actually want to go to school, and then they have to wait for weeks. I felt so bad when the older kids all went to school and Ian asked, "How many days until I get to go to school," and I had to respond, ". . . twenty-five." That feels like an eternity to a four-year-old.

Singing . . . at music class. Luckily, while Ian was waiting around for preschool, his little music class started. I have always been in charge of my kids' musical education, and I usually start them on the piano when they're four or five years old. But a woman in our neighborhood has a Let's Play Music studio, and I decided to send Ian there for their three-year program. Not only does it provide an excellent musical foundation, but it's a fun social environment and instills an early love of music. Plus, as a piano teacher, I wanted to be somewhat familiar with the program so that when I have students start with me after they've gone through the program, I at least have a general idea of the skills and knowledge they already have. So I had two motives for having Ian do it. He has only been to two classes so far, but he already loves it. I think it's a great fit for him. 

Celebrating . . . the birthdays of Peck and Waddles. We don't have any August birthdays in our family . . . until Ian informed us about the birthdays of his beloved chicks, Peck and Waddles. We celebrated with a present (a small Lego set Ian was only too happy to help Waddles build) and chocolate cupcakes (made by Max). The next day, he told me it was his stuffed panda, Smithy's birthday, and I knew I had to put a halt to the festivities right then or we would never see an end.

Showing . . . The Glenn Miller Story to my kids. I love old classic movies, but I haven't done a very good job of introducing them to the boys. However, now that we have both a trombonist and clarinetist in the house (two instruments that feature heavily in this movie), I decided it was time for them to see this beloved favorite of mine. I had forgotten just how good it was (Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson are perfection), and my kids actually really liked it. At one point, I started to skip over one of the songs because it was getting late, and Aaron protested because he was enjoying the music so much: that Big Band sound, you know? Max got a little anxious at the end when he saw where the ending was headed (it doesn't matter how many times I see it--it's just so sad, every time), but all in all, it is such an enjoyable and inspiring story. 

Going . . . on a hike. We didn't go on any family hikes this summer, mostly because Aaron is not supposed to be around a lot of dust. But Ian and I finally went on a short one with my friend and her four-year-old and baby. Unfortunately, four-year-olds aren't known for their stamina, so it evolved into mostly playing on rocks, but Ian and George are the cutest little friends. 

Playing . . . soccer. We didn't play soccer at all last year, but I knew Clark was missing it, and when I had the chance to get him on a team with a couple of neighborhood friends, I jumped on it. He is so happy to be back to playing, and Mike's glad that, since only one of our kids is playing soccer, we only have to go to one game each Saturday instead of several. 

Running . . . cross country. Max signed up for cross country this fall. He didn't really want to, but there wasn't any other sport he was interested in, and I wanted him to do something active. I felt a little bad though when, a couple of days before it started, he asked, "So what exactly do you do in cross country?" He is not loving it and has been quick to assure us that he will never love it. Nevertheless, he has stuck with it and given his best and has actually already improved. So maybe he'll turn into a runner after all.

Eating . . . homemade ice cream. We got together with our neighbors for a homemade ice cream party. Mike made peach, and they made classic vanilla, and both were so good. Summer perfection. 

Ending . . . the month on a high note. After nearly two years, Aaron's Make-a-Wish was fulfilled. He wished for a shopping spree (after his wish to go to New Zealand was cancelled due to Covid). He decided on all of his items ahead of time, and then they were presented to him at Scheel's, who hosted the event. It was a super fun morning for our whole family, but it's too much to tell in one little paragraph, so I'll save the rest for its own blog post. 

And that's a wrap on another month. Despite the challenges of this year, 2021 is still flying by. 


  1. So fun!!! We love let's play music. And I am so jealous of the mask wearing. My kids are one of 3 in masks at best. We've done the beanie baby birthdays too. One day my kids lined them all up in birth order. This year we have the sandra boynton every day is a holiday calendar and my kids have LOVED it but I'm getting a little burnt out. Miss you!

  2. We had smoke like that last year -- it really got us into the whole mask thing. Another fun month for the family!

  3. I love the name of your tooth fairy. I think our tooth fairies must be twins. David lost his first tooth and then actually lost it. And his second lost tooth was in a bag by his bed for weeks before he put it under his pillow. And I'm just now realizing that the tooth fairy never did a thing about it. Huh. I wonder where that tooth is now? Ben always tries to persuade the kids to let him smash the tooth with a sledge hammer and says he'll give them twice as much as the tooth fairy will.

  4. I'm very impressed with masks at your school. Our kids only have 3-4 kids per class wearing masks. (And I don't make them wear them to school...so far only my kindergartener has chosen to wear one occasionally.) My 7th graders is the only one to receive an exposed letter (2 actually), but since he's vaccinated, he didnt have to change anything. I feel like my mask is my safety blanket in public, but I'd guess only 10% of people wear them in my city.


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