A Little of This and That in July

Aug 21, 2022

July . . . the height of summer! Our schedule eased up a bit (especially when we were forced to slow down--thanks, Covid!), and we enjoyed some truly lazy summer days. Ian finally relented to the summer routine (which just meant he didn't fight it every single day), and I felt like I would have been content for July to just go on and on and on (except for the extreme heat, which was somewhat stifling). Here's a glimpse at all the things, such as . . . 

Diving . . .  from high places. Like last summer, Bradley participated in a six-week diving class. He loved it. He more than loved it. He looked forward to it every week and spent the entire 50 minutes just beaming as he learned and tried new things: tuck dives, pike dives, back flips, inward dives, and he got sooooooo close to getting his one-and-a-half front flip. Although it made me nervous to watch him balance up on the three meter, he found it exhilarating. This seems to be something that he is truly passionate about. I think he'll continue with it in the fall. 

Prepping . . . our house to sell. When we moved two years ago, we kept our other house and rented it to Mike's cousin and his family. They loved that little house as much as we did, and it made us so happy to see them playing in the front yard and swinging on the porch swing just like we always did. But then David finished his medical residency and got a job in Cache Valley, so we had to decide if we were going to rent it again or sell it. Although the market is starting to trend back down after a crazy high peak, it seemed like it was still an advantageous time to sell. So we replaced all the carpet and painted most of the rooms and put it on the market. As of right now, it is still an ongoing saga, but hopefully I'll be able to give a full report in August.

Playing . . . at the old house. We took advantage of having our other house back for the month of July and did all of the things we'd been missing: playing Annie I Over, roller blading on the flat, quiet street, climbing in the cherry tree, swinging on the swings in the backyard and the porch swing, and enjoying the shade of the big maple tree. The boys asked if we could just keep it as our summer home. How exotic . . . a summer home seven blocks away from our current house. 

Celebrating . . . Independence Day. We couldn't fit in everything we wanted to do and ended up skipping our city parade due to lack of time. But festivities of the day included a morning bike ride with my mom, a water fight and lunch at my parents', dinner and a pool party at our brother-in-law's, and watching fireworks from the roof when we got home.

Spending . . . a joyous day celebrating Anna and Macaulay's marriage! They were sealed in the Provo City Center temple. Anna was stunning in her very light and flowy wedding dress (good foresight for the heat!). We loved meeting all of Mac's family (he is one of eleven kids). After the wedding, we made a pit stop at 7-11 for slushees (maybe our best decision of the day!) and then joined all of the wedding guests at Tucano's for lunch. We spent the afternoon relaxing at my brother's house before going to the reception, which was held at Northampton House. My kids were big fans of the soda bar and doughnuts. But their favorite part of the night might have been the dancing, which completely surprised and delighted me. We ended the day by sending off the newlyweds through a tunnel of sparklers. It was such a happy day.

(Photo by my brother, Ben)
(Photo by my brother, Ben)
(Photo by my brother, Ben)

(photo by my brother, Ben)

Taking . . . lots of naps in the hammock. All of the boys have been so helpful with Silas this summer, but it has been Bradley who has really worked to hone all of his baby skills. He quickly volunteers to play with Silas, change his diapers, get him dressed, feed him, or put him down for a nap. The hammock is one of Silas' favorite napping spots, and Bradley (or sometimes one of the others) loves to rock with him until he falls asleep. It is so sweet. 

Gaining . . . more gratitude at a patriotic fireside. Our neighborhood holds a patriotic program every year. This was the first time we've been able to attend, and we loved it so much. It was held in the gorgeous backyard of one of our neighbors. There was music provided by a variety of talented people (including the children in the neighborhood). There was a guest speaker who recently immigrated with his family to the U.S. to further his education. Hearing him express his perspective and love for this country really deepened my own appreciation for it. The night ended in a perfect way with homemade ice cream.

Swimming . . . at night. At least once every summer, the boys love to go swimming after the sun goes down. It's such a nice time to go--usually not as crowded, and you don't have to wear sunscreen!

Finishing . . . a summer top. I knitted a light, lacy short-sleeved sweater for summer, and I'm obsessed with it. This is not a color I normally gravitate toward, but I chose it in case I couldn't find anything else to wear for my sister's wedding. I have been wearing it every chance I get, and even though it is made out of wool, it is surprisingly not too hot.

. . . to the temple for the first time. Mike took Maxwell and Aaron to the temple to perform baptisms. It was Max's first time, and he was quite excited.

Feeding . . . Silas. I am not one to rush to give my kids real food. It is such a pain, hassle, and mess. But my opinion was not shared by the masses. The other boys noticed the way Silas always reached for anything they were eating, and they sometimes held their food out to him in a tantalizing way before snatching it out of reach. They begged and begged and begged for me to give Silas food, and, truth be told, they wore me down. I have long been a subscriber to the baby-led weaning method, so we started out with sticks of cucumber, apple, and celery, rather than rice cereal. I have spoon-fed him a few things like applesauce and butternut squash and sweet potatoes, but so far, he is highly unimpressed with most things. His expressions of disgust provide endless sources of entertainment for the rest of us though!

Cancelling . . . everything for Covid. Six months after we all got covid, we got it again. This time it traveled through our family much more quickly, and most had extremely mild symptoms (we're talking runny nose and a weak, short-lived cough). It was annoying more than anything else. We had to cancel a week's worth of activities, and some things (like Ian's little music class) could not be rescheduled to a later time. I spent the first couple of days just moping around, feeling angry about the whole quarantine situation. In the end, I was the only one who never had symptoms, and Silas had the worst case out of everyone (probably because he hadn't had it before or been vaccinated). Hopefully we'll be good now for at least another six months.

Enjoying . . . an outdoor summer concert. If I could choose one way to spend a summer evening, it would be going to an outdoor summer concert. We used to go to the free concerts downtown, but that became less and less convenient as we moved slightly farther away and had more kids. But then we found out that our little community hosts outdoor concerts throughout the summer. So Mike and I went to a performance by a local jazz band (N8+). It was a hot evening, but the concert began late enough that everything was soon in shade. It was so pleasant, and I loved it.

Attending . . . an extended family reunion. It has felt like ages since we've been able to go to a big family reunion, so it was a real treat to attend the Washburn reunion (Mike's mom's side of the family). It was a one day affair in Provo Canyon where we ate, talked, played games, splashed in the river, and tried to avoid rattlesnakes (yikes). Sure love these aunts, uncles, and cousins that I inherited when I married Mike!

Catching . . . snippets of Ramona and Henry Huggins. All of my kids listen to audiobooks when they go to sleep. They generally turn to old favorites so that the familiarity of the stories will help them wind down. For the last few months, Beverly Cleary's books have been the choice for Clark and Ian. Before I go to bed each night, I check on each of my kids. As I straighten their blankets and pillows, I listen to just a minute or two of their audiobook, always in a different place than it was the night before. And time after time, I am impressed with Beverly Cleary's genius. Even though I've read all of the books in both the Ramona and Henry Huggins series, I am smitten all over again by just these tiny snippets. She just understood kids in a way that few authors ever have: listening to Ramona's antics make me think of my own childhood and remind me of things my kids have done or said. And you really only have to listen to one random minute to recognize that.

Shopping . . . for groceries. Aaron and Max both made a goal this summer to plan out a few dinner menus, go shopping for the necessary ingredients, and then make dinner. Aaron decided to make sausage and kale soup one night and pepperoni pasta another night. Maxwell's choices were Navajo tacos and lasagna. They made their own shopping lists, and then Mike turned them loose in the store while he did his own shopping. This was really the first time they have had to find things on their own in the grocery store, and it was a good experience for them. Mike oversaw the cooking, but really only stepped in one night when Max's scones were taking a bit longer than planned. (I think they gained a new appreciation for Mike and how quickly he is able to get dinner on the table most nights.) Overall, it was a successful goal, and we all enjoyed their efforts. 

Watching . . . (and enjoying) the new Netflix Persuasion. I realize I could be inviting a lot of shock and criticism with this confession, but I actually thought the new Persuasion was fun and entertaining. Yes, I'm a Jane Austen fan, and yes, I acknowledge that they didn't accurately capture Anne Elliott's true personality or demeanor. But here's the thing: it has been years since I've read the book, so I was able to separate the two completely and just enjoy it for what it was. However, I get that some of you might have very strong (and angry) feelings about it, and I won't dismiss them. I have that type of hatred for the Anne with an E Netflix adaptation, and I will die on that hill. 

Swimming . . . with Bamboo, Anna, and Blaine. My mom (who my kids call Bamboo) came up for the morning to go swimming with us. My brother and sister came, too. I hoped if we went right when it opened that we'd have the pool to ourselves. But alas, we chose a busy day. We still had fun though. 

Learning . . . all about farm animals. Clark spent a week at Wheeler Farm camp with his best buddy, Jude. They milked a cow, rode a horse, watched a blacksmith, gathered eggs, and many more things. Sadly, I don't have any photos. I was planning to take one of Clark with his wooden badge where he was collecting all of his beads, but he lost it on the last day. But photos or not, he had a marvelous time. 

Dressing . . . up as a pirate. Having Clark for an older brother means you sometimes get roped into putting on a pirate costume on a random Thursday in July, just because.

Splashing . . . in the pool for the first time. It took us half of the summer, but we finally timed Silas' naps just right so that he could go to the pool and actually get in the water. His initial impression was very unfavorable, but after a few minutes, he warmed up to it and was quite happy to splash around. 

Working . . . on summer classes. Maxwell and Aaron both took a class over the summer to free up a credit for another elective during the school year. Aaron did Health and Max did Digital Literacy. It was a grind for sure, but they both had strong finishes, and I know they'll be grateful they did it come fall. 

Welcoming . . . our nephew, Steven, back home after serving a church mission in Texas and Lithuania. He opened his mission call in March 2020. It is the last big event our family went to before the world shut down due to the covid pandemic. Steven served during an uncertain, volatile time in the world, but he did it with his characteristic optimism and enthusiasm. We are so glad to have him back!

Backpacking . . . in the Uintas. Mike and Max went on a short backpacking trip with the other 12- and 13-year-old boys in our neighborhood. They went to Wall Lake, which was just a short hike in. Max loved packing in all of their food, cooking, and sleeping supplies. I think it made him feel like a real wilderness man, haha.

Celebrating . . . Aaron's 14th birthday! We all went to the cabin for his birthday, along with Mike's sister and her family and two other nephews. It was basically exactly how Aaron wanted to celebrate: cousins, good food, and lots of games. We gave him a guitar for his birthday, which he has wanted for quite awhile but was completely surprised to receive nonetheless.  

If there's anything else to report from July, I've forgotten what it was! I think that's plenty anyway.

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