A Little of This and That in August

Sep 11, 2022

August brought us a series of afternoon and evening thunderstorms, which was just the nicest summer gift. We wrapped up all of our summer activities, kicked off new ones, and got settled in for fall. Some highlights included . . . 

Beginning . . . the month by pushing up onto hands and knees (Silas) and ending the month by crawling all over the house, using a combination of crawling steps and inch-worm scoots. He also learned how to go from crawling to sitting and back to crawling. He developed his pincer grasp so he can pick up even the smallest of crumbs. He tries to eat our faces when we say, "give kisses." And he decided he doesn't like anyone outside of the family, but he adores everyone in it. It was a big month for our Sy Guy.

Holding . . . our annual family book club. This is a summer tradition I started years ago, but to be perfectly honest, it fell a little flat this year. I chose a graphic novel, which has been successful in the past because it appeals to our wide range of ages. But this year, I went with the graphic novel biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and it just wasn't a good choice. We all loved learning about RBG, but it felt more like a long picture book than a graphic novel. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it just didn't feel like the graphic novel format worked to tell this story, or it just wasn't executed very well. We all felt it. My kids were all excited about the food, but they couldn't have cared less about discussing the book. So I felt annoyed and irritated, and it was just kind of disappointing. 

Switching . . . bedrooms. Aaron has had his own bedroom for the last two years, but Bradley has always wanted his own. So they decided to switch everything around: Aaron and Clark are now together, as are Maxwell and Ian, and Bradley is by himself. Somehow, even with all that switching, I still have a baby in my room. Hmmm. 

Planning . . . a primary activity. We had a little primary activity that was focused on the Articles of Faith. The kids each got to paint a frame (that held a copy of the Articles of Faith), play some outside games, pass off a few Articles of Faith (so impressed by their awesome memories!), and eat root beer floats. It was a fun night, and I was finally glad to be able to do it since we had to cancel it last month when our family had Covid. 

Deciding . . . to go to Singin' in the Rain at Hale Center Theater. When I saw that this play was part of the lineup for 2022, I really wanted to go because this is one of my all-time favorite musicals. I waffled back and forth though because sometimes it isn't worth it to go to something where I know the entire score and script forward and backward, but I finally bit the bullet and bought tickets. And it was amazing! Seeing it on stage was different enough from watching it on the screen that even hearing all of the well-known lines felt fresh. And the set! During the title song, gallons of water poured down from above. It was quite effective. Such a fun afternoon with Mike.

Finding . . . the one food Silas likes. Although Silas wants to try everything, he has been slow to like anything. That is, until we gave him ice cream. I feel embarrassed to even admit that I gave my six-month-old ice cream, but can I blame my other kids? They totally pressured me into it! One evening, we were all eating ice cream, and Silas was doing his usual reach and grab: "Oh, he wants it, Mom! Please give him some ice cream! Please, just try! Come on, Mom!," they all begged. So I relented. I figured he would do what he did with all other foods: grimace and spit it out. But instead, his eyes lit up and he excitedly leaned over for more. I couldn't get that ice cream into his mouth fast enough. It was as if he finally understood why we all seemed to like food so much, and you could almost hear him chastising all of us, "You've been holding out on me!" When Mike finally took him away from the cone, he cried in protest.

(These photos were actually taken during the second time he ate ice cream, which produced the exact same results.)

Letting . . . Levi go. Max raised another praying mantis this summer. There was far less drama this time around than last year, and Max let Levi (short for Leviathan) go well before he was reaching the end of his life. It was a good run. 

(Clark holding a different praying mantis, not Levi)

Running . . . a lemonade stand. Clark had been begging all summer to do a lemonade stand, but that's not really my thing, so I kept putting him off. But then he got together with two of his buddies and planned out the whole thing. When one of the other moms decided to support them in their money-making endeavors, I couldn't say no. They set up on the corner right by our little neighborhood pool where they knew they'd get a lot of traffic. They each made some baked goods to sell in addition to the lemonade. Clark thought of a bunch of ways to earn more money. ("We have to make lemonade from scratch! Anyone can buy Country Time at the grocery store!" "How about I leave off the sprinkles on my sugar cookie bars and then say, 'Add sprinkles for five cents'?" "You guys can't eat any of our cookies. Those are for the customers.") The afternoon they chose to do it on was extremely hot (perfect for thirsty customers, but not so great for three little boys), but they stuck it out for several hours and ended up making over $60 total. Pretty thrilling for eight-year-olds. 

Going . . . to the ward family campout. I knew I wasn't going to stay in a tent with Silas, but I planned to go for the evening. But then a storm was threatening and we were struggling to pull everything together quickly, and I just lost my motivation. So Bradley, Maxwell, Silas, and I all stayed home, and Mike, Aaron, Clark, and Ian went. This ended up being the right decision. Mike had fun with the boys who went with him. And I had fun with the boys who stayed home with me (and I totally schooled them in Five Crowns).

Saying . . . goodbye to summer with one final hurrah. David Archuleta was starring as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Tuacahn in St. George. Our whole family loves David Archuleta and this musical, so this was a no brainer for us. We had to go. However, we had a bit of a problem: a baby and a five-year-old that we couldn't take to the play with us. So I asked my mom if she wanted to come on a little one-night adventure to St. George. She agreed (and so did my sister, Angela). But our mini-van couldn't hold such a large group. So we decided to rent a sprinter van. (The whole scenario started to feel a little like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie . . .)

And it ended up being the most fun (and maybe most expensive) little two-day trip ever! Really, from start to finish, we just had the best time. The kids loved the sprinter van. It was big and spacious and epic (their words, not mine). 

We rented a condo that had access to several swimming pools, so we all went swimming in the afternoon and then the next morning before we left. We also got to see one of my brothers and his family as we passed through Cedar City on the way home.

And then the play! The play. It was just . . . everything. All the superlatives you can think of. When David Archuleta rose up out of the floor for the first song, Mike and I looked at each other and said, "If it gets rained out right now, it will still be worth it." Hearing David's voice on these songs we all love so much was just the best. I wish I could get the soundtrack with his voice. In true Tuacahn fashion, everything was over the top: the white limo that rolled out with Potiphar in it, the blindingly brilliant coat of many colors, the live animals, the fireworks. And even though we went for David Archuleta, the entire cast was absolutely phenomenal. So much talent. I thought Clark might get tired because it was such a late evening, but he was riveted the entire time (and told me that he would be scared to be one of the child actors but would love to be the guy leading the camel). 

It was just such a fun couple of days and would not have been possible without my mom and sister. What a gift they gave to us!

Missing . . . the first day of school, and not by choice. The backpacks were packed, Mike had given everyone a father's blessing, they had gone to bed early in preparation, and . . . Clark woke up sick (and he was definitely the most excited of the bunch, so it was a real bummer). The rest of the boys went and had a good first day, but then Max and Bradley were sick the next day and stayed home, and Aaron missed a day the following week. So it was a bit of a rough start.

Starting . . . high school and kindergarten. Two big milestones this year. Aaron is in high school, and Ian is in kindergarten. The high school seemed big and scary and daunting (especially because there is a lot of construction going on around it right now), but Aaron just took it one step at a time, and it has been a pretty smooth transition so far (it helped that there was a three-hour orientation the day before that made him feel prepared). So far, he really loves his graphics class and seminary. Ian is going to a different elementary school than the other boys for several reasons, but he is loving everything about it.

Joining . . . the cross country team. Aaron decided to join the high school cross country team. He will be quick to admit that he's close to the slowest one on the team, but overall, it has been a good experience for him. If you've talked to me in real life, you'll know that I'm frustrated because almost all of the meets are on holidays, school breaks, or school days. 

Swimming . . . there's always swimming to mention in the summer months. The crowds tapered off as the beginning of school approached, and we had many days when we had it mostly to ourselves. I even put on goggles and went swimming one day. It's rare for me to go all the way under the water, and my kids were kind of shocked. Ian got increasingly more brave, but ended the summer without tackling the deep end by himself (although he sometimes jumped off the board if I was there to catch him). Next summer, he'll get it, I bet. 

Hosting . . . book club (aka, the most stressful night of the year for me . . . just kidding . . . sort of). Hosting parties is not one of my strengths, so usually I leave the planning and hosting to Mike. But when it's for book club, I kind of have to do it myself because it's totally my thing. Usually though, I can at least pawn off the kids on him or get him to take out the garbage for me or some other little chore. But this time, he was actually not feeling well on the day I hosted, so he was totally out of commission. Luckily, I had Bradley who stepped in and did those little odds and ends jobs, and I was so grateful! And it all ended up working out. We discussed the essay collection, These Precious Days by Ann Patchett, which I loved, and we ate popsicles and ice cream bars because . . . August.

Saving . . . up for a Lego set. I told Aaron that I was done with buying big Lego sets. We don't have any more room for big sets. Plus, he can put together thousands of pieces in just a few hours, so they're just not worth the money. But that didn't stop him from deciding to save up the money for one himself. A new roller coaster (The Loop) came out earlier this summer, and Aaron fell in love with it. I've never seen him so determined to get something. He earned money by doing yard work for other people, painting our old house, watering while some neighbors were out of town, and saving birthday money. He finally had enough at the end of August and wasted no time in making his purchase. I thought he might want to savor and stretch out the building process, but that's not his style. He built it as quickly as possible and loved every minute of it. 

Losing . . . track of time. Nothing makes me realize how fast time is zipping along more than when I completely misjudge how long ago something was. This happened recently when I was talking to my cousin about jury duty. I was telling her about my jury duty experience from a few years ago. "Let's see, I said, "I know one of my kids was in kindergarten at the time. It must has been Clark." The very next day, I happened to get a jury summons in the mail. "I can't believe it!" I protested, "I just did jury duty! Aren't you supposed to be exempt for a few years?" That's when I finally decided to look back and see when I'd actually served. Um, it was when Max was in kindergarten, seven years ago. 

Boating . . . and sailing. Aaron, Maxwell, and Bradley each had the opportunity to do some water activities with their youth groups at church. Aaron and Max wakeboarded, which they'd never done before. Mike is one of their youth leaders, so he went with them. They all stayed in a cabin overnight and had one-of-a-kind pancakes the next morning for breakfast (or so I've been told). Bradley's youth leader has a sailing membership, so he took the boys out on the water one evening. The wind was just right for a great time. 

Speaking . . . in church. This was another thing that was cancelled during the week we were out with Covid, but it didn't get me off the hook for long. I spoke with the other women in the primary presidency. We each talked about a favorite primary song. I chose My Heavenly Father Loves Me and shared several experiences when I've felt God's love for me through His creations. 

Hanging . . . out with the whole neighborhood at the pool. Some of our friends rented an outdoor pool for the evening and invited everyone in the neighborhood to come swim. It was the perfect set up: a warm summer night, dozens of friends to talk to and play with, Chick-fil-A right across the street, and unlimited turns down the water slide. Hoping this one becomes a summer tradition. 

Selling . . . the house. Technically, we didn't officially close until September 1st, but I'm still putting it in August since that was when the bulk of all the house things occurred. When we originally listed our house in the middle of July, we immediately received several offers. We accepted one of these and started to move forward, only to have the buyers back out a few days later when they couldn't secure financing. So it went back up on the market, but I felt like we'd lost the initial momentum, and that was a bit discouraging. However, within a few days, we received another offer, which we negotiated before accepting. This time, the process went smoothly to the end, and we finally signed all of the papers. It was so bittersweet. It's so nice to not have to think about a second house anymore, but I feel like something is missing. On the day it closed, we went over to the yard one last time. We picked a few pears from the heavily loaded tree. There was only a single peach on the peach tree (it was a bad year for peaches), but it was ripe, and I worked hard to shape and grow that little tree, so I picked it. Ian spent a few minutes swinging and we loaded up our few remaining belongings that were still there. We heard that the new owners are a sweet little family, so that definitely makes us happy. 

And that concludes this month! I'm ready for some fall weather, as long as winter doesn't follow too close behind!

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